The Betfair Chase is the first Grade 1 event of the British National Hunt season and promises to be quite a cracker as Kauto Star goes for his fourth victory in the race.
Open to horses aged five years or older, the race (listed as the Lancashire Chase) has only been running since 2005, but the legendary Kauto Star has already won it three times, in 2006, 2007 and 2009. The 11-year-old has looked a little long in the tooth of late, however, and lost out twice to Long Run at Kempton both in January and in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Having said that, odds of 8/1 (Victor Chandler – £75 Free Bets) could still be enough to tempt the romantics amongst you.
Long Run is also running, and is certainly the horse to beat. Priced as the odds-on favourite at 5/6 (Paddy Power – £100 free betting), the six-year-old can follow up his impressive Gold Cup victory with another win here.
He won’t have it all his own way however. The main challenge could well come from the Donald McCain-trained Weird Al. The Irish gelding beat Nacarat and Time For Rupert (both of whom run here) at Wetherby at the end of October in the Charlie Hall Chase. This could well be the moment the eight-year-old stamps his authority on this class of race.
Diamond Harry is another eight-year-old in with a fighting chance, priced at best odds of 7/1 (Sportingbet). He hasn’t run for almost a year, however, when he won the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase. As such he might be a little on the rusty side to challenge for victory here.
So overall we’d say Long Run is the justified favourite to win the Betfair Chase, but that Weird Al could be the one to upset the odds on this occasion.