Betfair Chase Haydock 21st November
The complexion of this race has changed by the new Chase Challenge offering £1 million in prize money for the connections of any horse who wins the Betfair Chase at Haydock, the King George Chase at Kempton and the Betfred Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
It will be interesting to see which of the top chasers who are currently entered turn up as they may be steered towards Leopardstown at Christmas prior to peaking at Cheltenham in March, this likelihood is creating some very decent value on a known proposition -Silviniaco Conti who barring injury will definitely run. Paul Nicholls has openly stated that Silviniaco Conti will not go for the Gold Cup this year (which means they are not going for the £1 million bonus) as we pretty much know that he needs a flat track and the undulations at Cheltenham just don't suit him. If you watch the video from his stable tour Nicholls even says that he might get an entry for the Grand National!
Silviniaco Conti is a proven at Grade 1 performer who excels with give in the ground on a flat track. These conditions have seen him take 2 Betfred Bowls at Aintree, the Betfair Chase at Haydock twice in 2012 and 2014 and a King George at Kempton; therefore 5/2 may prove to be huge value come the day of the race, especially as he is only 6/4 currently with Paddy Power. I also don't see Coneygree lining up or Many Clouds who is aiming at the Hennessey. This could well see our selection go off at odds on come the race, with Cue Card who is also a previous winner of this race being his main challenger after showing he is back to something like his best when taking the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.
I usually go for double figure prices in an antepost wager; however I think this price is a steal no matter which horses line up against him, especially as Paul Nicholls is a master at targeting these top races.
Nicholls has said today that he will line up in a hurdle at Kempton tomorrow, as a slight early season setback left him a little short . He has won first time out before but his record does look a lot better when having had a run so I am happy to see him have a pipe opener.
Update 4th November
Silviniaco Conti had a pipe opener over hurdles (he has not run over hurdles since 2011) over a distance that would have definitely been on the short side. Nicholls had said he that he wanted to get a run into him prior to the Betfair Chase as he had a slight setback earlier and was not as far forward as he liked. He also has a much better winning record second time out.
Nicholls said after the race "He has had a really good blow and has run better than he did first time out last year, we've now got just over two weeks to get him 100% right".
"Noel (Fehily) was thrilled with him. He will come on for that a lot just because of the circumstances - we've had problems with him. He is bound to improve and that will put him bang-on for Haydock.
"He is a three-mile chaser and what he wants is to be jumping and galloping. Like Noel said, he galloped all the way to the line and he couldn't pull him up afterwards so that is perfect.
"He will do plenty of work as he thrives on it and if you backed off him he would get too heavy. He is plenty heavy enough but he will just tighten up and be spot-on."
Obviously the market agrees as he is now as short as 6/4 with 7/4 available in places, so we were spot on by taking the 5/2.
Selection for the Betfair Chase Haydock 21st November - Silviniaco Conti 2 points win @ 5/2 with bet365, Ladbrokes and Betfair
The Cleeve team