Betfair Chase: A Plus Tard 'will be fine on the ground' says bullish De Bromhead

Betfair Chase (Grade 1) | 3m1½f | 5yo+ | ITV/RTV

Who can stop superstar chaser A Plus Tard? No horse has even got close on his last two visits to Britain.

He ran away with the Cheltenham Gold Cup last March, putting 15 lengths between himself and stablemate Minella Indo from the final fence in a way that even the down-to-earth Henry de Bromhead described as "extraordinary."

However, that was a close-run thing compared to this day last year when he made the first Grade 1 race of the season look like a walkover. He was nudged out to come home 22 lengths clear – and it was not only his trainer who hailed him as "brilliant".

A Plus Tard's performance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup makes him the top-rated chaser in Ireland by 4lb
Rachael Blackmore and A Plus Tard return after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in MarchCredit: Edward Whitaker

A Plus Tard is set to follow the same itinerary this season, and as De Bromhead said in his recent Racing Post stable tour: "If it ain't broke then we have no need to fix anything."

The eight-year-old is reported in excellent heart for his bid to join the list of multiple Betfair Chase winners, which is currently made up of Kauto Star, Siviniaco Conti, Cue Card and Bristol De Mai.

"It's very exciting to have him back," said Chris Richardson, managing director of owners Cheveley Park Stud. "He's in great form. I spoke to Henry on Thursday and all was good. The forecast is for quite a lot of rain but that won't worry him.

"He was very good on this day last year and that set us up for the dream of Cheltenham and the Gold Cup, and for that to happen was so, so special.

"He looks fantastic and Richard Thompson is really enjoying his father's legacy, which is great for the whole business."

De Bromhead said: "It's all systems go. I spoke to Zoe and John who travelled over with him and they're thrilled. He's doing everything he should be doing.

"He's been in great form at home and he looks great. We'll have to see how he copes with the ground but I'm sure he'll be fine on it.

"It turned out to be pretty soft after a lot of rain when he won the Savills Chase at Leopardstown a few years ago and he didn't seem to mind the soft ground when he won the novice handicap chase at the festival either.

"Everything has gone well in the lead up to the race and we're looking forward to it."

'I've had this race in mind for him since the Gold Cup'

Protektorat has 17 and a half lengths to make up on the favourite on the Gold Cup form but it isn't putting off Dan Skelton.

For a start, the trainer believes his chaser could possibly have finished second rather than third at Cheltenham had he jumped the final fence better.

He firmly believes there is more to come from the seven-year-old, who ran away with the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree last December and is unexposed over long distances.

Skelton is happy with Protektorat's condition and said: "I've had this race in mind for him since the Gold Cup. The more rain the better for him. He's in great form and has been away a few times.

"It's going to be hard to beat the reigning Gold Cup winner but we're going to give it our best shot."

Bristol's back at his happy hunting ground

It is Haydock and it has been raining, which means only one thing: it's Bristol De Mai time.

No horse ploughs through the mud here better than the doughty battler, who sluiced home by 57 lengths on heavy ground in 2017 and won in similar conditions in 2020.

He also came out on top on going described officially as good in 2018 but the wet weather in the build up to this year's race has raised hopes of another big run.

Bristol De Mai: won the Betfair Chase for the third time in 2020
Bristol De Mai: won the Betfair Chase for the third time in 2020Credit: John Grossick (

Jockey Daryl Jacob said: "Bristol De Mai's record at Haydock is second to none. It's like a home game for him and the ground is coming in his favour.

"He's been there, done it and worn the t-shirt. I fear all the horses, they're all Grade 1 horses, but my lad is tried and tested."

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies added: "We're really looking forward to it. The more rain the better and we know he enjoys the race.

"It's hard work taking on the Gold Cup winner but it's on our turf – obviously we can't expect to win but it would be lovely if he did."

Confirmed stayer Allen has more to offer

Joe Tizzard knows just what it takes to land the Betfair Chase, having been on board for the first of Cue Card's three victories in 2013.

He is attempting to become the first person to win the race as both a jockey and a trainer, having taken over the licence from his father Colin at their yard in Dorset.

Tizzard is full of hope for a big run from Eldorado Allen, who is expected to have come on for his reappearance second in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last month.

Eldorado Allen -Brendan Powell wins The Betfair Denman Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1)Newbury 12.2.22©Mark
Eldorado Allen: won last year's Denman ChaseCredit: Mark Cranham (

"I'm looking forward to running him and I was pleased with his Charlie Hall run – he's improved for it," he said.

"It's a competitive race but we have race fitness on our side and he showed last time he got the trip well, so we can make a bit more use of him.

"We've had a lovely time in this race and fingers crossed we can have some more fun."

Frodon and Frost back for more

Bryony Frost and Frodon are a dangerous combination to underestimate, but even they could have their work cut out here.

Britain's most successful female jump jockey and her willing partner have upset the odds time and again, most famously when springing a 20-1 surprise in the King George VI Chase at Kempton in 2020.

Bryony Frost: bidding for another big Saturday with Frodon
Bryony Frost: bidding for another big Saturday with FrodonCredit: Alan Crowhurst

The three-time Grade 1-winning team were back to their best when Frodon defied top weight to land the Badger Beer Handicap Chase a fortnight ago.

Trainer Paul Nicholls said: "He ran very well at Wincanton. We couldn't be happier with him and it's worth having a go."

Saturday's race previews:

1.50 Haydock: 'He should be hard to beat' - Nicholls swerves L'Homme Presse test with Hitman

2.05 Ascot: Can Britain's top Gold Cup hope L'Homme Presse be troubled on his return?

2.25 Haydock: 'He goes there with every chance' - key quotes for the valuable stayers' hurdle

2.40 Ascot: 'We'd have concerns if it dried too much' - Nicky Henderson on Constitution Hill

3.15 Ascot: Who can capitalise in this handicap chase with Edwardstone ruled out?

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David CarrReporter
Published on 18 November 2022Last updated 09:55, 19 November 2022