Haydock specialist Bristol De Mai is bidding for a hat-trick of wins in the Betfair Chase on Saturday. A fifty-seven length romp in 2017 was followed by a bloodless success in 2018 in which he beat all of Britain’s best staying chasers with plenty to spare.
His four wins from four starts combine to make a total winning distance of 115-lengths. Peerless at the venue, he faces a new challenger in the form of Lostintranslation on Saturday, as well as fan favourite Frodon and stablemate Ballyoptic.
Here’s an in-depth analysis of whether Bristol De Mai has what it takes to complete the hat trick or if he will prove vulnerable. The Betfair Chase along with the 1965 Chase from Ascot make up a cracking day’s racing on ITV. Be sure to make use of all our tips and analysis, as well as our Free Bets.
As already mentioned, there’s no better horse at the Merseyside venue than the grey. He won a Grade Two novice chase over two-miles-four in 2016 by thirty-two lengths, followed by a twenty-two length success in a handicap the following January.
Sent off 11/10 favourite in 2017, he put close to a furlong between himself and Cue Card. His margin of victory was smaller the following year, but he was no less impressive in beating Gold Cup winner Native River, subsequent King George winner Clan Des Obeaux and star chasers Thistlecrack and Might Bite.
He quite clearly has nothing to prove at this venue nor over this extended three-miles-one trip. Some have pigeonholed him in recent times as a mudlark, partially stemming from his 2017 win which came on bottomless ground.
He thrives under testing conditions but he did beat the cream of British stayers on good ground last year. An early fall put paid to his chances in the King George subsequently but he proved his class when finishing third in the Gold Cup on good-to-soft in March, the same conditions he will face on Saturday.
Colin Tizzard’s seven-year-old enjoyed a rapid ascent up the novice chase ranks last season. Closely matched with Defi Du Seuil in three runs early on in 2019, including when second in the JLT, he took his form to a new level when stepped up in trip at Aintree.
Ridden by Robbie Power in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase, he barely had to be pushed out to put six-lengths between himself and RSA winner Topofthegame.
He again toyed with his rivals on his recent reappearance at Carlisle, jumping like a stag over two-miles-four. The second hasn’t done much for the form but he was giving weight to all and barely got out of second gear to record an eased down victory.
A career high RPR of 165 leaves Lostintranslation with plenty to find with a peak Bristol De Mai, who posted RPRs of 182 and 176 in 2017 and 2018 respectively. On official ratings, he has nine pounds to find.
He does have bags of improvement left within him, and he has the advantage of race fitness. Tizzard’s charge has the capacity to rank higher than Bristol De Mai in time and could win a Gold Cup, something his rival has failed to do twice.
Added to this, Lostintranslation has achieved more in his early chase career than the grey did, who was beaten in the same Carlisle race the former turned into a procession earlier this month.
The likeable seven-year-old won four of his five starts in 2018-19, completing a hat trick at Cheltenham. Success under a big weight in the Caspian Gold Cup was followed by a gutsy win in the Cotswold Chase in which he beat Elegant Escape over Saturday’s trip.
He was no less gutsy when winning the Ryanair under Bryony Frost at the Festival in March, regaining the lead late on to overcome Aso.
Sent off 11/4 for the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on his return, he finished third behind Forest Bihan and Kalashnikov. That effort can be upgraded on two accounts – he was giving at least a stone to the field and the removal of fences put an unwelcome emphasis on speed.
Paul Nicholls’ charge actually has the least to find on figures, rated just a pound inferior. The price would be generous if it weren’t for one thing; the trip. Connections no doubt wish they had a Gold Cup horse on their hands, but he’s far less effective over three-miles plus than he is over the Ryanair trip of two-miles-four.
His form figures over staying trips read an admirable F221. Judged on that win however, in which he beat a field of rivals rated at least nine-pounds inferior to him, his stamina fading in the closing stages, he’s going to prove vulnerable from the front to the confirmed stayer Bristol De Mai.
The nine-year-old enjoyed a torrid time in the 2018-19 season, his sole completion in four starts coming when sixth in the Welsh National.
The Twiston-Davies yard has worked wonders over the summer months. A taking win at Chepstow under a big weight in October was followed by a career best performance when landing the Charlie Hall from Elegant Escape at Wetherby.
He will need another clear personal best to mix it with the protagonists on Saturday. Furthermore, the quicker ground is likely to place an unwelcome emphasis on speed, something of which he doesn’t have too much.
Lostintranslation should make a race of it. He achieved more in his novice career than the favourite did and arrives here with plenty of improvement left within him. It wouldn’t be a surprise, whatever the result on Saturday, if he went on to land the King George at Christmas and went close in the Gold Cup at March.
At the current moment in time however, he has nine pounds to find and better chasers than him have tried and failed to defeat Bristol De Mai at Haydock. Cue Card won the 2016 renewal with ease but was beaten out of sight the next year. The following season, Bristol De Mai put Gold Cup winner Native River and a host of other classy stayers to the sword.
Lostintranslation, whilst obviously a hugely talented horse and the one with the sexiest profile, is yet to convince he’s anywhere near their level.
The two other contenders should struggle to threaten. Ballyoptic lacks the class to figure in this company despite his early season upward curve and the gutsy Frodon should get picked off from the front.
The current price could prove good value when the grey does what he does best and scores at Haydock. No horse can mix it with him there, whether that’s on heavy or good ground. This is his Gold Cup, and a third victory in the race should be forthcoming against a field of rivals who have plenty to prove.