The Betfair Chase has grown into one of the premier staying races over the past decade or so and once again some of the best horses in training are set for Haydock Park this weekend. The likes of Kauto Star and Imperial Commander are just two of the recent winners of this race and many now consider it to be the best early season trial for the Gold Cup.
All nine of the entries for the Betfair Chase stood their ground on Thursday which ensures that we can look forward to a mouth-watering clash between some of the best stayers in training in the UK. Cue Card was the brilliant winner of the race 12 months ago and the former Ryanair Chase hero is back again and in with a real chance of claiming another big race victory. On his day, the Colin Tizzard trained horse is top top draw as he showed last year with a thrilling front running performance and no doubt the same tactics will be employed again on Saturday.
Cue Card ran only an ok race last time out when he faded off of top weight in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter but connections are reporting him to be well at home and they are hopeful he will run his race. As well as the 2013 winner of the Betfair Chase, we also have the 2012 winner in the form of Silviniaco Conti in the field. The Paul Nicholls trained chaser won the King George, ahead of Cue Card, last Boxing Day before finishing 4th in the Gold Cup and any repeat of that form should see him go very close indeed.
Silviniaco Conti is also another one here with the benefit of already having a run this season although he too faded slightly in the Charlie Hall chase at Wetherby. He looked a little one paced that day but he should be fitter for that run and few would be surprised if we saw the best of him once again on Saturday. Menorah streaked clear of the field to win that Charlie Hall chase and the Philip Hobbs horse is also in the Haydock field with his credentials set to be tested. The former Supreme Novices Hurdle winner looked better than ever at Wetherby over three miles (ish) and he does make some appeal at an each-way price in a very deep field on Saturday.
The other main contender to consider this weekend is the hugely classy Dynaste who will take his chance for David Pipe. The popular grey was behind Cue Card in this race last year before winning the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham but this could be a big ask first time out with the King George next month the main target for him before Christmas. The improver in the field could be Taquin Du Seuil who won the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham last season and although he has a lot to find with this horses on the bare ratings, he is likely to be better than we when we last saw him which could make him interesting.