Saturday’s Badger Ales Chase Preview

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Present Man – 8-1 Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power

Saturday’s Badger Ales Trophy Chase at Wincanton has attracted a strong entry of thirty at Monday’s forfeit stage for which Carole’s Destrier and Theatre guide head the weights for the extended 3m 1f handicap. The race was established in 1962 and has been won by many popular chasers over the years including the top class grey Teeton Mill who ran out a convincing winner in 1998 before going on to claim the Grade 1 King George V1 Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The following two renewals went to Flaked Oats from the Paul Nicholls stable and the Ditcheat trainer has continued to dominate the contest with a record seven victories. Mr Mix, Southfield Theatre ( an unlucky final fence faller last year when holding a narrow lead ) and Present Man could all represent the stable on Saturday afternoon but it is the last named who boasts the strongest claims and can provide Nicholls with win number eight in the hands of talented 5lb claimer Bryony Frost.

Nicholls has made no secret of the fact that this is the son of Presenting’s big target for the current campaign with owner’s Mark and Tessa Woodhouse’s brewery sponsoring the race. The seven-year-old was given a pipe-opener over hurdles at Kempton just over two weeks ago when beating his four rivals with little trouble, a run which should ensure the gelding is spot-on for the weekend.

Present Man won four of his seven starts last season but got no further than the second fence in this race twelve months ago where the well-backed 7-2 chance blundered and unseated rider Jack Sherwood. The 3m 5f distance of Sandown’s bet365 Gold Cup possibly proved too far for Present Man on his final start of the last campaign while the four furlong shorter trip at the west country venue should prove ideal on this occasion.

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The Colin Tizzard-trained Gentleman Jon is sure to make a bold bid in an effort to record back-to-back victories but the nine-year-old is now on a ten run losing streak and a bigger danger could turn out to be last season’s BetBright Chase winner Pilgrims Bay who still looks on a reasonable mark of 137.

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