Saturday 24th November – Haydock – 3pm – 3m 1½f (3m 1f 125y) Betfair Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Lancashire Chase) (Class 1) (5yo+)

The Befair Chase which is open to horses aged five and over was established in 2005 and is the first Grade 1 chase of the season. The registered name of the race is the Lancashire Chase. The original race bearing the name was run at Manchester Racecourse for the first time in 1884. The great Kauto Star won the race four times between 2006 and 2011.

During the event’s 13 renewals the race has been won by horses aged between six and nine on 10 occasions.

The betting has given a definite clue to a likely winner over the last 12 renewals with six favourites obliging in the last 12 renewals; on 10 of the last 12 runnings the winner could be found in the first three in the betting.

A recent run before the race appears to be required with nine of the last 12 winners having their previous run within 27 days of the race. However, horses who have already run this season have a reasonable record in the race with six of the last 12 winners running at least once during the current season prior to the race and four of the 12 having recorded at least one win during the current season. Current winning form also needs to be considered with five of the last 12 winners winning on their previous start.

Winning form over the race distance should be considered as eight of the last 12 winners had won at least twice times prior to the race at distances between 2 mile 7 furlongs and 3 miles 1 furlong.

Solid chasing experience also needs to be noted with 10 of the 12 winners having run at least 11 times over hurdles, with 10 of the last eight winners previously recording at least four wins or more over fences.

An Official Rating of 167 of higher has been required to win the race in 10 of the last 12 renewals and 10 of the last 12 winners had also previously won a Grade 1 race previously.

Unusually none of the five declared runners have run so far this season. The race is potentially a straight fight between last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River and the Aintree Betfair Bowl winner Might Bite.

Native River beat Might Bite at Cheltenham by 4½ lengths. Both horses have plenty of winning form in the ground and over the distance. Native River has not won to date on his seasonal reappearance whereas Might Bite has won a couple of times after a break.

The pair are very difficult to separate but on balance Native River should give better value for money.

Photo: Native River with Colin Tizzard, by Ian Yates, www.eyewhy.co.uk

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