Sky Bet Chase Preview

January 25th, 2019



This weekend is the trials meeting at Cheltenham which I’m sure a lot of people will be watching with one eye on the festival in March.

Away from there is the SkyBet Chase at Doncaster. You can read my race preview below.

Probably best to start with the favourite Dingo Dollar. On form from this season he is a worthy favourite. The last time we saw him he was finishing 3rd behind Sizing Tennessee in the Ladbroke Trophy. At the time the form didn’t seem up to much but since then Elegant Escape who finished 2nd has won the Welsh National, the 4th horse (Beware the Bear) won by 5 lengths at Cheltenham on New Years Day and West Approach who finished 5th ran 2nd to Paisley Park in the Long Walk Hurdle. His trainer Alan King has a good record in this race winning it in 2016 and 2017 with Ziga Boy.

Next in the market is the Nicky Henderson trained O O Seven. He beat Go Conquer here last time out back in December and has been raised to 152. Looking at his form in the past he has run well off this new mark but has never won so he would probably need a career best to win this.

Go Conquer was subsequently raised 4lbs to 151 after finishing behind O O Seven. He is now 1lb better off and was only beaten ½ length so in theory should be able to reverse the form on those figures. I believe he is a horse who likes better ground so if the rain stays away, he will have his ground unlike some of these. My concern with Go Conquer is the same as O O Seven. He has never won off the weight before so would need a career best as well.

Paul Nicholls has 2 in this race in the shape of Warriors Tale and Art Maresque. Warriors Tale managed to finish 2nd in this race last year behind Wakanda and warmed up for this nicely by winning the Grand Sefton over the national fences at Aintree last time out. That win put him on a career high mark of 153 and he would need to step up again to win this. Art Mauresque was disappointing the last time we saw him finishing 44 lengths behind Charbel in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon, but before then he finished 2nd in a Grade 3 handicap chase at Ascot beating Go Conquer by 5 lengths in the process.

Venetia Williams has been in a rich vein of form lately and she has Calipto in here who is a general 16/1 shot. When he was a juvenile and running for Paul Nicholls, he was the 11/2 favourite for the 2014 Triumph Hurdle finishing 4th and was rated 149 over hurdles. His career with Paul Nicholls never really kicked on after that only managing to win a beginner’s chase. Venetia Williams has managed to get 2 wins out of him including last time out when winning a handicap by 4 lengths off 138. He has now been put up to 143 and if you believe he is as good a chaser as hurdler then he has 6lbs in hand. It wouldn’t be a huge shock if he won, given the stable form.

Of the rest of the field Willie Boy won a Wetherby handicap last time out and has been raised 9lbs to 145. I think that rise could be a bit too much for him and it may take a few runs for his mark to be lowered slightly before he gets his head in front again. The same could also be said of Brian Borhana who was also raised 9lbs for his victory at Sedgefield in October. On Tour is now 11 and I think his best hope of victories these days will be in Veteran Chases. Federici finished 5th in this last year off a 1lb higher mark but Donald McCain’s form in January isn’t anything to write home about, and Monbeg River is still 5lbs higher than his last winning mark and his form lately doesn’t really stack up to this sort of level.



Even though Dingo Dollar is probably the most likely winner 5/2 is generally too short for me. My play in the race would be to dutch Go Conquer and Art Mauresque who are both about 8/1. For those people who liked bigger priced horses then I wouldn’t put anyone off Calipto e/way at 16/1. 

Written by Robert Garth

The Cheltenham Trail, winners at 12/1, 9/1, 8/1 twice and many more

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