The first G1 of the British Jump season is also the initial contest in The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown, which offers a £1-million bonus for any horse who can follow up victory in the Betfair Chase by taking the G1 Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, 26th December and the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup at Cheltenham on 13th March.
In addition to the insured £1-million bonus, connections of any horse that can win The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown will receive The Kauto Star Trophy, commissioned in 2017 and thought to be the only piece of silverware in sport never to have been won. Kauto Star won all three contests in the 2006/07 campaign and collected a £1-million bonus offered at the time by Betfair.
Bristol De Mai, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, is bidding to become the third horse to win at least three renewals of the G1 event, following on from Kauto Star (2006, 2007, 2009 & 2011) and Cue Card (2013, 2015 & 2016). A fine third in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival™ in March, the eight-year-old son of Saddler Maker was fourth on his final start last term in the G1 Betway Bowl at Aintree in April.
Gloucestershire handler Twiston-Davies is relishing the return of his stable star as he targets a fourth success in the G1 contest overall, with Imperial Commander landing the 2010 renewal of the extended three mile and a furlong event. Bristol De Mai was initially meant to start his season in the G2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on 2nd November, before connections decided to head straight to Haydock Park with the 170-rated chaser.
Twiston-Davies said: “Bristol De Mai is in good form. Everything is fine with him and we just decided to head straight for Haydock.
“We did it last year and it worked well, so hopefully things can go well again this time around.
“He had a great season last term and we were delighted with his third in the Gold Cup. Hopefully, he can continue improving this term.”
Bristol De Mai could be joined by stable companion Ballyoptic following his tenacious victory in the Charlie Hall Chase. The nine-year-old son of Old Vic was a three and three-quarter length winner of the three-mile event and is a possible starter at Haydock Park on 23rd November.
Twiston-Davies continued: “Ballyoptic has come out of the Charlie Hall fine.
“We were always going to enter him in the Betfair Chase after that victory and he could also run.”
Superstar Altior is unbeaten in his last 19 starts over obstacles and connections have decided to step the dual G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase hero up in trip this season.
The 175-rated chaser culminated last season with a comfortable victory in the two-mile G1 Celebration Chase at Sandown Park and the four-time Cheltenham Festival winner is one of three entries for Seven Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson along with Might Bite and Valtor.
Pictured: Altior lands the 2018 Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park
Might Bite captured the 2017 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park and was a fine second to Native River in the 2018 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. The 10-year-old was a well-beaten last of five when the Evens favourite in last year’s renewal of the Betfair Chase and was pulled-up on his latest start in the 2019 edition of Jump Racing’s Blue Riband event at Cheltenham in March.
Valtor made an impressive British debut at Ascot in December, 2018 when landing a Listed handicap by eight lengths. The 10-year-old was 18th in the G3 Randox Health Grand National at Aintree in April.
Paul Nicholls has dominated the Betfair Chase with six victories. In addition to Kauto Star’s four victories, the 11-times champion Jump trainer also took the honours with Silviniaco Conti (2012 & 2014).
The Somerset-based trainer has two contenders this year. The G1 Ryanair Chase hero Frodon was third in the G2 Virgin Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase on his reappearance at Aintree in October, whilst 2017 G1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase winner Black Corton was third under top-weight in the G2 Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot on 2nd November.
Lostintranslation is one of two entries for Colin Tizzard who is seeking a fourth success in the Betfair Chase following Cue Card’s hat-trick. The seven-year-old was an impressive six-length winner of the G1 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April and returned to action with an imperious victory in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle on 3rd November.
Pictured: Lostintranslation, winning at Carlisle
He could be joined at Haydock Park by stablemate and 2018 Welsh Grand National winner Elegant Escape. The seven-year-old son of Dubai Destination was sixth in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup in March and finished a staying-on three and three-quarter length second to Ballyoptic in the Charlie Hall Chase on his seasonal debut.
An Irish-trained horse has yet to win the Betfair Chase, but leading Irish owner Gigginstown House Stud is responsible for the two Irish entries this year. The 2018 Ryanair Chase winner Balko Des Flos has struggled to rediscover his G1 winning form of late and finished fourth on his reappearance for Henry De Bromhead in G3 company at Punchestown in October. The entries are completed by the Noel Meade-trained Tout Est Permis. He finished ahead of Balko Des Flos in third at Punchestown in October and was a G2 winner over fences at Thurles last season.
Betfair spokesman, Barry Orr, commented: “The Betfair Chase is shaping up to be a vintage renewal with Lostintranslation vying for favouritism with hattrick seeking Bristol de Mai, while Frodon will stripe fitter for his seasonal debut.
“Following his victory in the in Carlisle, Lostintranslation is the momentum horse to give Colin Tizzard a fourth win in the Betfair Chase.”