Arguably this is where the jumps season gets serious! Yes, we’ve been saying the tempo is going up for a while now, but the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday afternoon is just short of concert pitch for two of jumps racing’s biggest stars.
Native River – 3.00 Haydock @ 11/4
They finished first and second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup back in March, having led the dance from pillar to post, and here we find Native River and Might Bite prepared to do it all again. What a treat for racing fans!
In the Cotswolds, they went stride for stride, jumps for jump, for more than three miles, with Native River all the time leading Might Bite. Nicky Henderson’s King George winner seemingly travelled best coming to two out, but Native River and Richard Johnson wouldn’t be headed and, in the end, had a bit to spare.
The general consensus is that Might Bite will reverse form on slightly better ground although that is not certain. This Haydock Grade One is now run over close to the 3m2f trip of the Gold Cup and that can prove to be in favour of the Cheltenham hero.
They’ll both be ready for this contest and the younger horse is just about favoured on these terms. Might Bite can have his day at Kempton over Christmas but at almost three times the price, Native River can rule in Lancashire.
Braqueur D’or – 3.35 Haydock @ 7/2
A sign of the times perhaps as former champion trainer Paul Nicholls seems much more likely to have the winner here in the C&D after-party than the feature race on the card.
Still, the Ditcheat handler remains adept at placing his horses to maximum effect and, having easily won at Taunton nine days ago, Braqueur D’or can defy a 4lb ratings hike to add this prize.
He’s got some useful form in the book from last season and looked as good as ever in that recent success. A handy weight difference with likely favourite Captain Redbeard remains in his favour, while Harry Cobden is another asset, with the young rider operating a strike-rate in excess of 32 per cent lately (13-40).
We Have A Dream – 2.40 Ascot @ 9/4
Henderson’s charge locks horns once more with If The Cap Fits following their efforts in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on their respective seasonal bows.
Then the Seven Barrows inmate was unable to sustain his effort from the front and finished seven lengths down on Harry Fry’s runner-up when settling for third.
The Henderson runners often improve for a run and, with his Aintree Grade One novice success coming over 2m1f in the spring, this longer trip could be in We Have A Dream‘s favour, with the Elite having been over a distance shy of two miles.
Barry Geraghty takes over in the saddle for his old boss and We Have A Dream can turn the form around.
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