The Sky Bet Chase, run over an extended 3 miles at Doncaster, hasn’t had a habit of throwing up long-odds winners in recent years, but winners at 25/1, 16/1 and 12/1 in the last ten renewals offer some cause for optimism.
The complete ‘rag’ of the 15-strong field, Distime (33/1), won a maiden point-to-point over 3 miles as a 4-year-old, so it’s interesting that the Flemensfirth gelding, now a 10-year-old, has been restricted to just one run beyond 2 miles 5½ furlongs over regulation fences. His best recent form has come over a testing 2 miles 3½ furlongs at Sedgefield, but also ran creditably in defeat over 2 miles 5 furlongs, on soft going, at Aintree in December and isn’t badly handicapped on that form. He’s 4lb out of the handicap and, of course, doesn’t come without risks, but his chance may not be as forlorn as his odds suggest.
Also down among the dead men, as far as the betting is concerned, Court By Surprise (25/1) has been absent since October, but is only 2lb higher in the weights than when second of 18, beaten 7 lengths, behind the subsequently disqualified The Young Master in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton a year ago last November. The Beneficial gelding subsequently broke a blood vessel when pulled up in the Grand National, but made a satisfactory, if unspectacular, reappearance over this sort of distance at Chepstow. He’s unlikely to find much improvement at the age of eleven, by he appears overpriced in an open-looking contest.
Selections: Doncaster 3.15 Distime (33/1 with Bet365), Court By Surprise (25/1 with Bet365)