Hindsight is a wonderful thing but there have been tougher renewals of the Betfair Chase than the one A Plus Tard bolted up in at Haydock Park. No Irish trained racehorse had ever won this leg of the Stayers Chase Triple Crown until now.
The well-backed 11/10 favourite on horse racing betting sites jumped for fun under Rachael Blackmore and never had a nervous moment on Merseyside. Content to let three-time Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai and January’s Peter Marsh victor Royale Pagaille take each other on up front, A Plus Tard simply waited in the wings under his jockey. Some call it a patient ride. Who needs patience when you win in facile fashion?
A good leap four out helped Blackmore’s mount cruise into contention. By next the fence, they were disputing the lead. Bristol De Mai weakened at that point, unable to maintain the gallop he had set from the off. Mistakes at previous obstacles weren’t helping the cause of Royale Pagaille either with A Plus Tard soon leaving him behind effortlessly.
Henry De Bromhead saw his horse make history for owners Cheveley Park Stud. A raider from the Emerald Isle came back with Betfair Chase first place prize money of almost £115,000. It was all so easy with A Plus Tard home 22 lengths in front of Royale Pagaille and a similar margin back to Caspian Caviar hero Chatham Street Lad in third.
While there is no knocking the winner with many of the best betting sites like William Hill halving his 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup odds into 7/2 over the weekend, the form doesn’t withstand scrutiny. The other previous Grade 1 winners in this Betfair Chase line-up didn’t get round. That is fact.
A Plus Tard Opposition Didn’t Turn Up
This has always been the primary target for Bristol De Mai but he pulled-up comprehensively beaten on his happy hunting ground before the second last. Waiting Patiently, an ante post gamble that made little sense when it had been the thick end of four years since he last won a race, didn’t complete either on his first start for Christian Williams.
Am ambitious, up-and-coming trainer had every reason to believe there was more to come from the 10-year-old unexposed as a stayer. However, Waiting Patiently hung out to his right at this left-handed track throughout and this hold-up horse eventually lost touch with the field after getting hampered.
Imperial Aura had an early bath when falling in the back straight at the 13th fence. Unlucky for some, especially Kim Bailey and David Bass, who has failed to complete on this 2020 Cheltenham Festival winner in all three starts this calendar year. Clondaw Castle got round for Tom George as a remote fourth.
What has A Plus Tard beaten, then? Three graded handicap winners, confirming his superiority over Royale Pagaille from last season’s Gold Cup. If only every Grade 1 race could be so easy. Tougher tasks lie ahead but De Bromhead has always kept this particular horse lightly-raced. We should see him again over Christmas where A Plus Tard’s next race is a likely defence of the Savills Chase at Leopardstown. At least at home in Ireland, they will make him work for the lion’s share of the purse.
Lostintranslation Bounces Back for Resurgent Tizzard Team
At Ascot, meanwhile, the Colin Tizzard revival continued with Lostintranslation landing the Grade 2 1965 Chase. A first success on the track in two years saw the nine-year-old win a trappy renewal by four lengths and the bookies immediately cut his King George VI Chase odds. Betfred are 16/1 about Lostintranslation for the Boxing Day showpiece.
A word of caution, though. Lostintranslation has pulled up on both his previous visits to Kempton. Three wind surgeries later, he only needed riding out by Brendan Powell (on board for the first time) for a fifth career victory over fences in Berkshire. Team Tizzard love their staying steeplechases but the obvious race for this one looks like the Ascot Chase in February.
Buzz enhanced his Stayers’ Hurdle claims, meanwhile, with victory in the Coral Hurdle. A 3 1/2 lengths defeat of last year’s winner Song For Someone saw Bet365 trim his odds for that likely Cheltenham Festival target into 8/1. Nicky Henderson is keen to step popular grey Buzz up to 3m off the back of this and his Cesarewitch Handicap victory on the Flat, nominating the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle back at Ascot in December as next.
Some pedigree experts have doubts about the horse’s stamina. Buzz, a seven-year-old gelding by 2005 Epsom Derby winner Motivator, may also have the Aintree Hurdle on his agenda come the spring. He chased home Abacadabras in the only 2m 4f open Grade 1 over the smaller obstacles in the UK last season.