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Betfair Chase Review: Bristol De Mai Proves King Of Haydock

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With £1 million up for grabs for any horse who manages to win Haydock’s Betfair Chase, the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and in March the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, the first leg of the ambitious treble on Saturday attracted the strongest five-runner Grade 1 chase imaginable.

Native River and Might Bite – first and second in last season’s Gold Cup headed the quintet alongside last year’s 57 length winner Bristol De Mai, 2016 King George hero Thistlecrack and the hugely promising Clan Des Obeaux from the Paul Nicholls stable.

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On ground described as good Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite was expected to appreciate the going more than his four rivals but the even money favourite trailed home in last place after spending too much time in the air at many of his fences, the three mile one and a half furlong contest going to Bristol De Mai who is beginning to look virtually unbeatable at the Lancashire venue, whatever the prevailing ground conditions.

Always in the front two from the word go the mount of Daryl Jacob took a definite advantage over Native River jumping the fourth-last from which point the grey never looked like relinquishing the lead, putting four lengths between himself and the Gold Cup winner passing the post with Thistlecrack and Clan Des Obeaux running honourable races to fill the minor placings. Now four from four at Haydock the son of Saddler Maker will now head to Kempton on Boxing Day for the second leg of the million pound challenge.

A twenty six length six behind Might Bite in the Christmas showpiece last year Nigel Twiston-Davies charge seems to be a shadow of the horse who patently reserves his best for Haydock when running elsewhere and makes little appeal at the 9-1 available with 888sport for Kempton.

On the other hand the 4-1 offered by that bookmaker about Might Bite may be an overreaction as the nine-year-old is a totally different proposition at the Surrey track and still rates as the one they all have to beat in a months time. As for Native River, the reigning champion did his prospects of retaining his crown in March no harm at all making Paddy Power’s odds of 7-1 a tempting long-term proposition.

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