Preview and Free Betting Tips for the SkyBet Chase – With the focus heavily on Cheltenham this weekend for Trials Day, a lot of race-goers and betting enthusiasts will be looking for pointers towards the Festival in March. Alongside Cheltenham, Doncaster hosts a competitive card with this year’s renewal of the Sky Bet Chase particularly intriguing. Here’s a preview, and a couple of tips for the race.
Top weight Unioniste (9/2 BetVictor) is dropped in grade after having contested the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period. He finished a disappointing eighth of nine runners some eleven lengths behind the eventual winner, and Gold Cup ante-post favourite, Bobs Worth. Harry Derham rode him to victory in the December Gold Cup last season and returns to the saddle for this contest taking off a valuable 5lbs. Unioniste is a classy type with bundles of talent and is sure to give favourite backers a good run for their money.
Another horse who will be looking to put a poor recent effort behind him is the Nicky Henderson trained Roberto Goldback (16/1 Betfred). He sits second in the weights, but has the talented Nico de Boinville on board claiming 5lbs. The horse looks like a dour stayer and with a promising weather forecast and the flat Doncaster track he could well be vulnerable to some speedier rivals.
Night In Milan (7/1 Stan James) won over the same course and distance in mid-December and is back off an 8lb higher mark. Mart Lane (10/1 BetVictor), who was third that day, has won since and renews the rivalry. The Keith Reveley trained Night In Milan had done very little wrong this season apart from finishing well beaten in the Fixed Brush at Haydock back in November. His latest victory at this venue shows he’s back in good form and providing he’s still improving then he could well defy the 8lb rise.
GULLINBURSTI (8/1 Betfred) is Emma Lavelle’s sole representative in the race. Her form of late has been very impressive and she is renowned for carefully and expertly placing her runners. The conditions and track characteristics should suit this horse and I believe he has a strong chance. In his last couple of races, he hasn’t quite got home, but the ground probably wasn’t quite right for him. It’s difficult not to have been impressed with his first run of the season where he made everything look incredibly easy. Other positives include Noel Fehily who takes the ride and is a jockey very much in good form, and also the fact that connections chose to run Gullinbursti instead of Court By Surprise.
BAILE ANRAI (16/1 BetVictor) has improved this season since moving stables to Dan Skelton, a trainer who has shown his skill and ability to mix it with the top trainers on a number of occasions so far this season. The horse was a winner last time out over 2m at Leicester, but has shown that he is capable of running well when upped in trip. I’ve never seen him run a race and not give his all, and for this reason I think he is a solid each way shout, especially given the fact he enters the fray off bottom weight.
Of the remainder, Paul Webber’s Time for Rupert (16/1 Betfred) continues on the comeback trail going back over fences. If he’s back to his best then he has claims, but I struggle to see this happening. Donald McCain sends Kruzhlinin (9/1 Stan James) to the race as his only stable representative, having won his last two races this season, both at Kelso on good to soft ground. Trainer Sue Smith continues the 2013 Grand National winner’s comeback, using this race to help target a second National victory for Aurora’s Encore (33/1 Stan James). Niceonefrankie (20/1 BetVictor) and The Rainbow Hunter (16/1 Betfred) are both progressive types who probably haven’t been seen to best effect yet. I think both horses have a couple of big runs in them and wouldn’t be surprised if either of them finished in the placings.
As you would imagine, this race is difficult to pick a winner with the majority of the 15 strong field having decent chances. It’s hard to go against the in-form Emma Lavelle and Noel Fehily partnership, and even though GULLINBURSTI perhaps hasn’t performed up to his potential so far, I’ll stick by him and hope that this race proves to be ideal. Of the others, I fancy an each-way bet on the Dan Skelton trained BAILE ANRAI. The horse has shown his best form since moving to the Skelton yard and with Dan’s brother, Harry, on board he represents a solid each-way bet.
SkyBet Chase Selections –
GULLINBURSTI (WIN) (8/1 Betfred)
BAILE ANRAI (E/W) (16/1 BetVictor)
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