All you need to know about Saturday's big Betfair Chase meeting at Haydock Park
The Betfair Chase is the first Grade 1 run in Britain this season and, since its inception in 2005, it has quickly established itself as a race that attracts the very best staying chasers to the Newton-le-Willows track.
Nine of the first 12 editions went to three of the real greats in Kauto Star (four), Cue Card (three) and Silviniaco Conti (two), with Bristol De Mai joining them as a repeat winner last year.
Bristol De Mai will face just three opponents when he bids to complete a hat-trick of victories in the £200,000 showpiece, one of whom is his Charlie Hall Chase-winning stablemate Ballyoptic.
Nigel Twiston-Davies is hoping Bristol De Mai can improve again this season and has given the eight-year-old a familiar early-season target in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 23.
Owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, the chaser has won the last two runnings of Haydock's jumps showpiece, the first by a staggering 57 lengths before defeating an elite field a year ago.
A hat-trick in the Grade 1 would bring him level with Cue Card and just one behind four-time winner Kauto Star.
Twiston-Davies, who has enjoyed a great start to the season with 22 winners, said: "He's fine at the moment and he's summered well. Last season was great and we hope he can continue improving."
Bristol De Mai was the best of the British when third in the Gold Cup – for which he is a top-priced 50-1 chance –and his campaign could begin at Wetherby on November 2.
Twiston-Davies added: "We're hoping to start him off in the Charlie Hall, although that will depend on the ground. At the moment it is quite decent there which is good.
"We will then go on to the Betfair [Chase], he has done very well in that race in the past few years. We'd look at the same sort of races but we will see how we go. He had a great season last year, we enjoyed the Gold Cup. We're looking forward to seeing him again."
Another of Twiston-Davies's stable stars, Betfair Hurdle winner Al Dancer, is set to go novice chasing and could make his debut over fences at Cheltenham on October 26.
Saturday's winner would earn a £1 million 'triple crown' payout if he went on to land the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase and the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup
The ground is set to be less testing than usual for a race that has been run on soft or heavy ground in six of the last seven years.
It was officially good to soft on Thursday and clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright said: "If it stayed dry it could be good in places on Saturday but we are due a bit of rain tomorrow and Saturday."
Joe Tizzard: Lostintranslation looking sharp for Betfair Chase showdown
Lostintranslation is fighting fit and ready to show he belongs at the top level when he takes on Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase.
That was the message from Joe Tizzard on after Lostintranslation's form was called into question by Nigel Twiston-Davies, who is seeking a third consecutive win in the Grade 1 race with Bristol De Mai.
Tizzard, assistant to his father Colin, said: "He did a lovely piece of work this morning. Now he's moving up into the highest league and I’m looking forward to running him."
Twiston-Davies threw down the gauntlet saying: "Talk is cheap and horses like Lostintranslation have to prove it." He pointed out that Count Meribel, runner-up to Lostintranslation in the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle this month, is not in the same league as stablemate Bristol De Mai.
While refusing to get into a war of words, Tizzard said Carlisle had been just a soft starting point for Lostintranslation over two and a half miles.
Tizzard said: "He did everything we expected him to do at Carlisle and that worked out as a lovely prep run for him. He looks sharper at home now and has lost a bit of tummy.
"He took a blow two out at Carlisle and the run has tightened him up and we couldn't be more pleased with the way he is. Three miles suits him but it was the right thing to do, going two and a half miles first time."
Tizzard also pointed to the Shloer Chase success of Defi Du Seuil at Cheltenham on Sunday as another positive for Lostintranslation, whose form ties in closely after their three big battles last season.
"His novice form got a big boost with Defi Du Seuil on Sunday and hopefully he can take the next step as well," added Tizzard.
3.00 Betfair Chase confirmed runners – jockey – trainer – latest odds
1. Ballyoptic - Sam Twiston-Davies/Nigel Twiston-Davies 12/1
2. Bristol De Mai - Daryl Jacob/Nigel Twiston-Davies 6/5
3. Frodon - Bryony Frost/Paul Nicholls 5/1
4. Lostintranslation - Robbie Power/Colin Tizzard 11/8
Betfair Chase – key stats:
Class - All of the last ten winners had finished first or second in a Grade 1 previously and had run in a Grade 1 or a Grade 2 last time out.
Days since last run - Six of the last seven winners had run within the previous month. Five of those had run in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby.
Age - Six of the last 11 winners were aged nine or older, including a couple of ten-year-olds and Kauto Star at the age of 11 in 2011.
Trainers - Paul Nicholls has won the race six times from just 13 runners since 2006 (+£6.65), albeit the wins came from just two horses. Nigel Twiston-Davies’s horses have finished 21U11 since 2009.
Racing Post big race tip:
Bristol De Mai is the only likely runner rated 170 or higher and won this first time out last season, but none of his rivals had had a prep run that day and it will be tougher this time. With the Charlie Hall not looking that strong, FRODON gets the nod. He is rated just 1lb lower on 169, has a run under his belt and is trained by the master in Paul Nicholls.
Betfair Stayers Hurdle – key stats:
Age - Five-year-olds have won six of the last nine runnings and all but one of the other winners in the last decade was just six, with Kruzhlinin the trends-buster at the age of nine in 2016.
Market - Seven of the last 11 winners came from the first two in the betting and every winner in this time was no bigger than 12-1.
Previous runs - None of the race’s 14 winners had run more than twice earlier in the season, with five winning it first time out.
Recent form - Eight of the last 11 winners had finished in the first three on their latest outing.
Trainer - David Pipe has had three winners from just 12 runners in the last decade (+£5.50 to £1 level stakes).
Racing Post big race tip:
UMBRIGADO looks a great fit on the trends, being the only five-year-old in the ideal ratings band and trained by David Pipe to boot. He was only sixth at Aintree last time, but that was a Grade 1 over 2m4f and this class and trip will suit.
For the latest odds and full racecard check https://www.racingpost.com/racecards/