Fortria Chase Tips & Betting Preview

This €45,000 Grade 2 Chase has had plenty of big name winners in previous years, including Hidden Cyclone, Twinlight and Flemenstar. This year’s edition sees an extremely competitive field of 7 declared including a previous Novice Grade 1 winner and a Cheltenham Festival winner.

IN SUMMARY: Ballycasey looks likely to be sent off favourite following his win in the PWC Champion Chase last month, but GILGAMBOA offers better value receiving six pounds from Willie Mullins’ charge. Fourth in the Grand National when last seen in April, this is a serious drop down in trip but he has previously run well over this sort of trip and his fifth place in the Ryanair Chase in March is some of the better form in the field.

1 Ballycasey – The likely favourite carrying top weight due to his Grade 2 win at Gowran in October, he was impressive that day, beating Road To Riches by 11 lengths. He has largely been campaigned over 20 furlongs and further, including two attempts at the Grand National (Brought Down in 2015 and Unseated in 2016), and this isn’t an obvious step back in trip given he stayed on al the way to the line last time out. Combined with the penalty, he is vulnerable and short in the market.

2 The Game Changer – Second to Tell Us More (who repossesses today just seven days ago in the Popular Square Chase, he found it all happening a little quickly that day. He has to carry three pounds more than the winner despite a five length beating, and doesn’t have the benefit of Barry Geraghty riding unlike last time. Has run consistently to around a mark of 150 in good races, but will likely find one or two too good here.

3 Cause Of Causes – Another who is taking a significant drop in trip to his normal attempts, he was last seen when being pulled up in the Scottish Grand National in April. He won at Cheltenham Festival over 3m 2f in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup when strong in the market at 9/2, but hasn’t won over the minimum trip since January 2013 and that was over hurdles on Heavy. Will likely find this all happening too quickly despite the cut in the ground.

4 Fago – The second lowest rated horse in the field (holds an official mark of 140), this is his first run for new trainer Patrick Griffin having been sold by Andrea & Graham Wylie earlier this year. His recent form (or lack thereof) suggests he’s had problems, but as a Novice he was rated in the mid 150s and was competitive in some good races. His new owners will be hoping he can return to somewhere near that form, but he has been extremely poor on his last three starts and this is a competitive race.

5 Gilgamboa – Last seen when placing in fourth in the Grand National in April, he’s a Course & Distance winner but gets to carry 11 stone 4lb – the joint lowest among those with serious chances. HHe had a solid season last year, finishing 3rd in a Grade 1, but he is another where the drop back in trip is a question mark. He did finish second in a Grade 2 Novice chase here at Navan over 17f in similar conditions and his fifth place finish in the Ryanair Chase at big odds is among the best form in the field. He looks an attractive price given his previous form over these distances and his six pound allowance from the favourite.

6 Tell Us More – A last time out winner, having beaten The Game Changer at Naas, that was his second win this year having also won at Gowran Park. He’s one of the few horses who is normally campaigned around this distance, which is definitely in his favour, but he was beaten into 4th at Cork last month off a mark of just 143 and has plenty of do on official weights with both Ballycasey and Gilgamboa. This will be his third run in a month – all of those coming since his move to Gordon Elliott from Willie Mullins – and his jumping does worry.

7 Arctic Skipper – The lowest rated in the field with a mark of just 130, he does get at least 3lb from every other horse. Having ben well beaten in his last two attempts in similar company – the latter in a 3 mile slog in the Imperial Call Chase (Grade 3), he wasn’t disgraced but was getting a significant amount of weight from the rest of the field. Shouldn’t be good enough to feature here.

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