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Victor Chandler Chase Betting Preview
Victor Chandler Chase Betting Preview - With Master Minded still on the road to recovery and an absentee from this month’s Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot it’s another Paul Nicholls inmate that’s been installed as favourite.
By: Andy Newton
Twist Magic, who ran away with the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December, is the horse in question and after a couple of disappointing seasons the signs are that he’s finally starting to fulfil the potential he’s always threatened to show. Yes, he seems to save his best for Sandown and has now won at the Esher track three times, but he’s also ran well on his only visit to Ascot – coming second in this race back in 2008.
However, those of you that read my Tingle Creek preview back in December will know that, for me, the key to this horse looks to be a certain Ruby Walsh. The silver fox has been onboard Twist Magic nine times, winning a massive six times! And if you consider that this horse has only won nine times, from his 24 career runs, then it’s clear to see why having Ruby in the plate is a massive positive against his chances of winning. A victory here will surely see his Champion Chase price shorten, but the bookmakers are already divided on his Cheltenham chance – some being as big as 10/1, but others as low as 6/1.
The betting suggests that Nicky Henderson’s Christmas winner Petit Robin will be the one to give Twist Magic most to think about, and with that recent win also being his first run of the season then many will feel he won that with more still to come. He had Well Chief just over 3 lengths in behind that day, while a second to Master Minded in this race 12 months ago indicates he’ll have no issues with the track. Ok, so he’s officially rated 8lbs inferior to Twist Magic, but he’s still lightly-raced and at 7 years-old has plenty of time and improvement left in the locker – He can be backed at BestPrice 14/1 for the Champion Chase.
Forpadydeplasterer, who was 15 lengths behind Twist Magic in the Tingle Creek, is the only raider coming over from Ireland, and although looking as though he’s got plenty to do to overturn that form it’s worth pointing out that he’s now finished in the first two in all of his last eight races – making him a banker for all forecast and tricast perms. I feel, however, he might just want a bit further as I question if he’s got the speed to win over this trip at this level, but Arkle winners often go on to hold their own the following season and therefore his Champion Chase quote of around 10/1 will tempt plenty of each-way punters in.
David Pipe’s Well Chief is the only other one of any interest at this stage, but after already seeing the back of Twist Magic, Forpadydeplasterer and Petit Robin this season it’s hard to see him overturning the form with them all. On the ratings he’s now 10lbs behind Twist Magic and although he’s won this race in the past, that victory was way back in 2005, while it was also run at Cheltenham back then. In fact he’s never raced here at Ascot in his long career and despite being one of the game’s greatest 2mile chasers in his day I just feel that age is slowly starting to creep up on him. Ok, so he beat Master Minded at Ascot last November, but we all know now that Paul Nicholls’ star chaser was running with a cracked rib, so, for me, he actually did well to finish as close as he did. But the louder alarm bell, after that win, should have been that he only had Mahogany Blaze, a horse rated 13lbs inferior at the time, ONLY 2 lengths behind! He can be backed at BestPrice 14/1 for the Champion Chase.
Expect the £105,000 race to cut up between now and the 23rd Jan, especially with the cold spell causing havoc with preparations, but at this stage the others that are entered are – Cornas, Fix The Rib, Kinkeel, Lennon, Lord Henry, Oiseau De Nuit and Santa’s Son.
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