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Thursday 19 February 2015

Betbright Chase Preview

The Betbright Chase (formerly the Racing Post Chase), run over 3 miles at Kempton, hasn’t had a habit of throwing up long-priced winners in recent years. Nevertheless, Bally Legend (28/1) last year, Opening Batsman (12/1) in 2013, Razor Royal (11/1) in 2010 and Nacarat (10/1) in 2009 provide some cause for optimism so, as usual, we’ve selected a few that we think are capable of upsetting their more ‘illustrious’ rivals.

The first one to catch the eye is Alan King’s 9-year-old Godsmejudge (33/1), who’s only 1lb higher in the weights than when second in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr and third in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last April. The son of Witness Box – a good source of staying chasers – has typically been campaigned over marathon distances in recent seasons and weakened after the fifth last when pulled up in the Sky Bet Chase, over 3 miles, on his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster four weeks ago.

Trainer Alan King has confirmed that the Grand National at Aintree is, once again, ‘Plan A’ for Godsmejudge this season, but it’s interesting that connections are persevering at this shorter distance, especially when the Eider (over 4 miles 1 furlong) at Newcastle must have been a tempting alternative. Of course, it’s possible that Godsmejudge may be taken off his feet over 3 miles on a sharpish, flat track, but with the going at Kempton good to soft and a wet afternoon forecast on Thursday, conditions may be testing enough to bring his stamina into play.

The Rainbow Hunter (33/1) hasn’t been seen since unseating his rider at Valentine’s on the first circuit in the Grand National at Aintree in April, but ran respectably on his reappearance last season and the one before, so could be a potential ‘fly in the ointment’ if fit and ready to do himself justice. An 8lb rise in the weights for winning the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster last January doesn’t make life an easier, but Noel Fehily, who’s never ridden for the yard and has just one booked ride at Kempton on Saturday, is an interesting jockey booking.

What A Warrior (25/1) has only been with Dan Skelton since October and, although pulled up in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November, had previously been on a sharply upward curve for his new hander. He comfortably won a 0-130 affair over 3 miles 1½ furlongs at Ludlow in October on his first start for the yard and then took a step up to Grade 3 company, and a 13lb rise in the weights, in his stride when making all to beat subsequent winner Black Thunder in the United House Gold Cup at Ascot in November. He’s another 7lb higher in the weights here and wouldn’t want too much rain, but 25/1 is, frankly, a silly price.

So, for richer for poorer, our three against the field this week are, in order of preference, What A Warrior (25/1 with Totesport, Betfred, Betway and (amusingly) the sponsors Betbright), Godsmejudge (33/1 generally available) and The Rainbow Hunter (33/1 with Boylesports and Betbright). Good luck!