The Betfair Ascot Chase Raceday features Ascot’s third and final Grade 1 Jumps race of the season with the Betfair Ascot Chase over 2m5f. Won in the past by the likes of Kauto Star, Monet’s Garden and Cue Card, it is the final Grade 1 Jumps contest before the Cheltenham Festival and an important race for top level horses at the intermediate trip.
The 2019 renewal will see Waiting Patiently bid to become the fifth dual winner after he triumphed last year over Cue Card in an emotional success for Ruth Jefferson and Brian Hughes. He has been seen just once on a racecourse since when he unseated in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day and a second win in the race would certainly see him live up to his name.
In opposition he will find the Paul Nicholls pair of Cyrname and Politologue, both Ascot winners this season already, while Fox Norton will look to build on his return to action here last month when he chased home Altior in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase. Completing the high class line up are Charbel and Aso, both of whom have enjoyed excellent seasons so far.
It is a bumper nine race card at Ascot as we host two rearranged races from Newbury after their fixture was lost last weekend to the Equine Influenza outbreak. The Grade 2 Betfair Denman Chase over three miles is typically an important trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup having been won in recent years by Native River twice as well as Coneygree, Long Run, Kauto Star and of course Denman himself when known as the Aon Chase.
This year King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux will be a warm order to see off three rivals before going on to contest the Gold Cup although Terrefort can be expected to improve on his recent outing at Cheltenham and should make it a fair test.
The second contest from Newbury is the two mile Betfair Hurdle, one of the most fiercely competitive handicap hurdles of the season, and there is an element of intrigue in all 14 of the runners. Al Dancer, Getaway Trump and Didtheyleaveuoutto represent top class novice form and will all be looking to uphold the strong record that novices have in this race. Lisp ran well in a similar contest at Ascot before Christmas to finish second while Mont Des Avaloirs disappointed that day and he is surely capable of better.
Our other Graded race is the Grade 2 Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase over three miles, which is an important stepping stone to the RSA Chase at Cheltenham for novices over fences. It looks a strong renewal despite attracting a field of just five. Mister Malarky for Colin Tizzard showed his potential when tearing apart a handicap field at Newbury in January while Top Ville Ben heads the ratings for Philip Kirby after two wins from two starts over fences. The 2018 winner of the Reynoldstown, Black Corton, runs in the Keltbray Swinley Chase where he will take on 2015 Gold Cup hero Coneygree and last year’s winner Regal Encore.