The opening race gets under way at 12.10pm with the finale at 3.35pm. The £160,000 Grade One Betfair Chase (3pm, live on ITV Racing) is the highlight as five horses do battle in the first Grade One chase of the jump season. We have previewed the best of the action with stats and analysis.
The contest has been won by the likes of Cue Card, Kauto Star, Imperial Commander and Silviniaco Conti. Ditcheat maestro Paul Nicholls has won the race a record six times, whilst two of this year’s field have already tasted success in the extended three miles and one furlong event.
The market for this year’s event is headed by the defending champion Lostintranslation. Trained by Colin Tizzard, the eight-year-old defeated former dual winner Bristol De Mai by a length and a half in last year’s renewal. Pulled-up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, the son of Flemensfirth finished an excellent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival in March when last seen.
Bristol De Mai, successful in the 2017 and 2018 renewals is also on course for Saturday’s assignment. He went on to chase home Santini in the Grade Two Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January, before finishing ninth in the Gold Cup. However, he goes best when fresh and bids to emulate Cue Card who was the last horse to win three renewals of the famous chase.
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As alluded to, Paul Nicholls is the winning-most trainer in the race’s history and is represented by Clan Des Obeaux. The eight-year-old recorded a second success in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day when romping to a 21-length success.
He was below his best when possibly unsuited by Cheltenham in the Gold Cup, but is a player at a track he has tasted success at before.
Betfair ambassador Nicholls reported Clan Des Obeaux to be “as good as ever” earlier this week and is hopeful of a big performance from the son of Kapgarde with Nicholls adding: “He is a big, strong horse who gallops and stays. He probably hasn’t shown his best form going left-handed, but he has won at Haydock before. He loves the track at Haydock as it is a flatter track than Cheltenham."
Bellshill has his first run for Sandy Thomson in the colours of David Armstrong and former world number one golfer Lee Westwood. He hinted at a slight revival when second in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on his latest start, but will need a career best to win this.
The five runners are completed by Keeper Hill who finished fourth to Cyrname on his reappearance in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last month.
The other big race of the day is the £80,000 Grade Three Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at 2.25pm. Former Grade One winner Kalashnikov will bid to defy top-weight for Amy Murphy as he makes his reappearance from a 287-day layoff. The seven-year-old was last seen finishing fifth to Altior in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.
Irish raider The Jam Man is another of interest as he reverts back to hurdles following a scintillating success in the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan last time out. He makes appeal along with the prolific Main Fact who is chasing an eighth straight career win. Successful five times over hurdles last season, the seven-year-old has recovered three easy victories back on the Flat this autumn.
The progressive Imperial Alcazar is another to note and has his first start since easily justifying favouritism at Leicester in January. Irish raider Relegate and Pertemps Hurdle fourth Third Wind are others to note.
Selections for Haydock on Saturday
12.10pm Do Your Job
1.15pm Flash the Steel
1.50pm Good Boy Bobby
2.25pm Third Wind
3.00pm Clan des Obeaux
3.35pm Financial Outcome
News and analysis via Betfair