Side with Aidan Coleman at 28-1 at Haydock
20 November 2015
You can sugar coat it all you like, but the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday is nothing short of a disappointment.
The five horses that do take part are top-class chasers, even if they are the same old familiar names turning up in the same place.
Silviniaco Conti, Dynaste and Cue Card, the winner, the third and fourth from last year, are joined by the Gold Cup fourth Holywell and Ballyganour. This still makes for a potent mix, but I am sure even the most ardent National Hunt fan could have wished for more. They could have at least have hoped that one of the first six in the betting for the Cheltenham Gold Cup showed up but there is no Vautour, Coneygree, Don Cossack, Don Poli, Djakadam, Road to Riches or Saphir Du Rheu.
We will, of course, see those all elsewhere and in particular Vautour who runs at Ascot, but one or more of them would have richly bolstered the Betfair Chase.
All that said we still have an interesting contest that in the conditions is going to be a real slog. I am not inclined to get involved, simply because of the conditions and I think Silviniaco Conti will win and he is the right price at 8-11.
He shaped very encouragingly over hurdles on his seasonal reappearance and this has always been his target. He has already proved that he is better than his four opponents and unless one of them takes a big step forward this race will once again return to Ditcheat.
With such small fields at Ascot and Haydock there is certain to be some short-priced favourites through the day and finding a selection is not easy.
In the end I think it may be worth having an each-way interest in Mijhaar at Haydock. He runs in the Betfair 'Tap Tap Boom' 'Fixed Brush' Handicap Hurdle and is a tasty 25-1. He finished a decent third on his seasonal bow at Cheltenham where he found three miles stretched his stamina. Back down in trip to two miles and six furlongs looks like a good move, and the prevailing soft conditions look certain to suit this son of Shirocco. His best career efforts on the Flat and over hurdles have all come with cut in the ground. It is also possible that his mark of 137 underestimates his ability.
He was rated in the low 100's on the Flat and this tells us that 137 may underestimate his talent over hurdles. The John Ferguson horses remain in good form and having Aidan Coleman on board is a big plus. At such a big price he must be backed each-way.
Angus McNae's Saturday tip:
2.25 Haydock: Mijhaar each-way at 28-1 with Bet365 and BetVictor