Bristol De Mai put forward a fine performance to claim the Betfair Chase crown at Haydock Park last season and will aim to win the race for a third year in a row in 2019. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge was a slight outsider for the race, but rose to the occasion to blow away the rest of the field. He was unable to build on the momentum of his victory for the rest of the National Hunt campaign.
However, the eight-year-old will now aim to become only the third horse win the event three times or more, joining the elite company of Kauto Star and Cue Card to achieve the feat. Bristol De Mai is the leading contender in the horse racing tips to triumph once again at Haydock Park, although he will face a competitive field, including Frodon and Clan des Obeaux, who will be out to end his reign.
Last season Twiston-Davies’ charge was outstanding on the track. He faced off against Might Bite and Native River in his bid to defend his title for the first time. With Davy Jacob in the saddle, he cantered away from the rest of the field to win by four lengths ahead of his nearest rival Native River. As a result of the excellence of his display, Bristol De Mai was considered one of the leading contenders for the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park. However, he endured a disappointing outing after falling at the ninth fence when it appeared he was on pace to compete for the title.
It would be his final run before Bristol De Mai would compete at Cheltenham Festival and the ultimate race in the Gold Cup. His fall in the King George VI Chase did affect his odds for the Gold Cup, with his value in the 18/1 range. The French thoroughbred did not make a rapid start to the contest, but gradually moved through the field as Jacob guided his charge into contention. He made strides to move into the top two, although the eight-year-old did not have the pace to close on Al Boum Photo to take the win, settling for third behind the winner and second-place Anibale Fly.
Lovely scenes in Leighlinbridge this evening, as Al Boum Photo leads an adoring public in his Gold Cup parade pic.twitter.com/8Hjn32XVa1
— PA Racing (@PAracing) March 25, 2019
Bristol De Mai appeared in his final race of the campaign at Aintree in the Betway Bowl Chase. He was backed at 7/2 for the win in a competitive field, but he could not muster a strong enough performance amid a special outing from Kemboy, who cantered away from the rest of the field. Twiston-Davies’ charge finished in fourth, putting in a respectable display to end the season.
The experienced trainer will know that he has to have his horse prepared for the rigours of the new term. There are a number of talented competitors that are making the leap to challenge the elite field, while the old challengers will remain in the form of Clan des Obeaux, Might Bite and Native River. Only Bristol De Mai’s best will be good enough to clinch the Betfair Chase for a third year on the bounce.