The Grade 1 Betfair Chase that will take place at Haydock Park on November 22 promises to be a cracker. Last year’s winner Cue Card will be fancied by many to follow up, while last season’s King George VI Chase winner Silviniaco Conti is another leading contender. It may be Menorah however who proves the best value having already started the season with a bang, landing an impressive win at Wetherby earlier this month in the Grade 2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, writes Elliot Slater.
Available at up to 10/1 in the ante-post betting for the race – exactly twice the odds of Silviniaco Conti who finished fifth, beaten 8 lengths behind him at Wetherby – Menorah demonstrated beyond any doubt that he now stays three miles well, having been fast enough in his youth to win the Grade 1 Supreme Novices Hurdle over the minimum trip of two miles at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival. A consistently high-grade performer, the Philip Hobbs-trained gelding also ran a fine fifth to Hurricane Fly in the following year’s Champion Hurdle, then a year later finished third behind the great Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle Chase.
His four length defeat of the smart Taquin du Seuil at Wetherby opened up a whole new range of options for Menorah, who jumped impeccably and impressed his regular partner Richard Johnson, a man who has always held the son of King’s Theatre in high regard. Some will suggest that he may well have been fitter than both Silviniaco Conti and Taquin de Seuil, but at current odds there appears plenty of value in taking a chance on Johnson’s judgement that his mount has finally found his trip and could be worth following.
Silviniaco Conti, who won the 2012 Betfair Chase when beating the former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run, and was impressive when winning the 2013 King George VI chase from old rival Cue Card, can be expected to have improved for his first run of the term. The Nicholls team has also hit top gear over the last week – they saddled five winners on Saturday November 8 alone – so he should get much closer to Menorah at a track that clearly suits him well.
There shouldn’t be much between him and Cue Card, winner of the Betfair Chase last season and who clearly blew up on his reappearance run at Exeter recently in the Grade 2 Haldon Gold Cup. Colin Tizzard’s stable star had appeared to be going well approaching four out, but soon after began to toil and was not knocked about in coming home a fairly distant fourth behind God’s Own. He will be a different proposition at Haydock and is very much respected.
Wetherby runner-up Taquin du Seuil, winner of the Grade 1 JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, is an interesting contender but may be a few pounds short of the required standard at this stage of his career, while Dynaste is another serious prospect, David Pipe’s charge, winner of the Ryanair Chase last season and also runner-up in the Betfair Chase earlier in the term, is a proper horse on his day and invariably runs well fresh.