Haydock Betfair Chase Day Betting Tips - 22nd November 2019

Winner's Enclosure at Haydock Park
Alexander P Kapp / geograph.org.uk

National Hunt racing’s major showpiece of the Cheltenham Festival may take place in the spring, but the autumn and winter months are still a fine time to be a fan of the sport. With the season really beginning to find its stride at this time of the year, barely a weekend seems to go by without at least one outstanding card on offer. Late November sees the Merseyside venue of Haydock get in on the act with one of its biggest days of the season.

The Betfair Chase is the first Grade 1 race of the National Hunt season, and with a top-class field it promises to be an exhilarating spectacle. Open to runners aged five years and older, it is run at Haydock over a distance of three miles and one furlong, and with 18 fences to negotiate, it’s not a race for the faint of heart. 

 

About Betfair Chase Day

By the time November rolls around the horse racing calendar has begun the shift away from flat racing and back to the National Hunt. If you mention jump racing and Merseyside then people with only a passing interest in horse racing would assume that you were talking about Aintree, but the region has two top-class racecourses and the second is Haydock Park. When the leaves have started to turn and the ground is softening up enough to mean that horses can land on it over jumps without too much risk of injury, that’s when Haydock plays host to the Betfair Chase Day.

It’s a one day meeting that revolves around the race that it is named after, with the Grade 1 Betfair Chase taking centre stage. It’s a brilliant way to kick-start the jumps season and sees the country’s best chasers dust off their saddles to see how they’re doing after a quiet summer. There are six other races to keep you entertained during the day, so don’t think that Chase is the only one worthy of your attention. The seven race meeting is spread across three and a half hours or so, meaning that you’ll have ample opportunity to soak up the atmosphere and place your bets.

If there’s one thing you can say about the people of Liverpool and Merseyside then it’s that they know how to have a party. The region is one that loves horse racing, having taken the Grand National to heart from the moment it was first run. Liverpudlians know how to embrace top-notch horse racing, so if you’re popping along to Haydock for Betfair Chase Day then you can expect a vibrant atmosphere and a brilliant day’s racing.

Betfair Chase Day Race List

Even if you’re not in attendance you can still enjoy the seven excellent races. It’s the Betfair Chase that all eyes will be on, of course, having been founded in 2005 and becoming part of the so-called Stayers’ Triple Crown. More about that later. Whilst the day is always subject to change, here’s the card from 2018.

RacePrize MoneyAgesObstacles
Betfair Chase Day
Newton Novices’ Hurdle £25,000 4 Years Old + 9 hurdles
Betfair Handicap Chase £26,800 4 Years Old + 20 fences
Betfair Graduation Chase £50,000 4 Years Old + 18 fences
Betfair Handicap Hurdle £50,000 4 Years Old + 10 hurdles
Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle £100,000 4 Years Old + 12 hurdles
Betfair Chase £200,000 5 Years Old + 19 fences
Betfair Handicap Chase £50,000 4 Years Old + 19 fences

As you can see, it’s a day filled with exciting jump races that will help you blow away any rustiness of your own in the wake of a summer of flat racing and get you back into the National Hunt mindset.

The Key Races in Detail

Whilst the Betfair Chase is clearly the standout race of the day, there’s also the Grade 3 Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle Race that it’s worth looking out for. Whilst both races are relatively young, here’s some information about them:

The Betfair Chase

Where else to start but with the feature race of the day. The Grade 1 Betfair Chase was created in 2005 as the first part of the Betfair Million, a bonus scheme that sat alongside the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup to award the winner of all three in the same season £1 million in bonus money. For a time the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown was introduced as an alternative to the King George VI Chase.

The Betfair Million was only won by one horse - Kauto Star in the 2006-2007 season. The format was tweaked for the 2008-2009 season, with the bonus becoming available to any horse that was a first-three finisher that achieved a first or second place finish at the Cheltenham Festival and then won the Grand National, but the bonus was then dropped the following season.

The £1 million returned in 2015 under the guise of the Chase Triple Crown because the Jockey Club decided to offer it to any horse that won the original trio of the Betfair Chase, the King George VI Chase and the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. It looked as though Cue Card was going to achieve it in the 2015-2016 when he won the first two legs only to miss out on the Gold Cup to Don Cossack. The owner of any horse that does win the Chase Triple Crown will be presented with the Kauto Star Trophy, which was introduced in 2016.

The race used to be run over around three miles, but in 2017 it was extended to its current distance in order to allow the horses a longer run to the first bend. Whilst it’s known as the Betfair Chase, it’s actually registered as the Lancashire Chase, which was the name of a different race run at Manchester Racecourse from 1884.

Nowadays the race is run left-handed over three miles, one furlong and one hundred and twenty-five yards. It’s for horses aged five and over with a weight of eleven stone and seven pounds, with mares given a seven pound allowance. There are nineteen fences that need to be negotiated during the running.

The Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle

This Grade 3 race was also inaugurated in 2005 and, like all of the races apart from the Betfair Chase, is open to horses aged four and over. It was originally run over two miles and seven furlongs but was extended to three miles and fifty-eight yards in 2018. There are twelve fences to be jumped over the course of the race.

The race has been sponsored by Betfair since it was first run and the full title that is given to it has changed several times as the betting company has attempted to promote different offers and aspects to its business. The key word is ‘handicap’, though, indicating that there is no specific weight information to give you. Instead the weights carried are assigned by the handicapper in the hope of making the race as fair as possible for all horses.

Between 2007 and 2016 the race used Fixed Brush hurdles, which were based on the design the French use for their hurdles. They’re similar in nature to plain fences but tend to be lower in height. That means that they’re rigid in their design when compared to traditional hurdles, but they weren’t popular so in 2017 the decision was taken to go back to standard hurdles for the race.