A maximum of five runners are expected to line-up for Saturday's £200,000 Betfair Chase at Haydock, headed by Bristol De Mai who will be bidding to make history by becoming the first horse to win the race three years running.
Nigel Twiston-Davies' 8yo has been installed as the 6/5 favourite on the Betfair Sportsbook in his bid to emulate Kauto Star and Cue Card in winning the race at least three times, though neither of those greats landed the Grade 1 contest in three consecutive years.
Regarded as a Haydock specialist, Bristol De Mai will make his seasonal reappearance on Saturday though that is no negative for the 170-rated chaser who won the race last year by four lengths on his reappearance, while in 2017 he beat Cue Card by an incredible 58 lengths on just his second seasonal start.
Star chaser Altior set for Ascot
Although six runners were declared for the Betfair Chase at the five-day stage, Nicky Henderson's unbeaten chaser Altior has now been confirmed as an almost certain runner in Ascot's Christy 1965 Chase on the same day, meaning Lostintranslation is likely to be the biggest danger to Bristol De Mai's history bid.
Colin Tizzard's second-season chaser is the 13/8 second favourite following his victory in the Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree in April before confirming his fitness with a smooth victory at Carlisle on his seasonal reappearance.
Frodon, 13/2, representing the Paul Nicholls stable that has won the Betfair Chase a record-breaking six times, is the third favourite, while Ballyoptic, 12/1, and Elegant Escape, 14/1, make up the field for the first leg of the Stayers Chase Triple Crown.
Betfair Chase Betting (all quoted)
6/5 Bristol De Mai
10/1 Altior (doubtful runner)
14/1 Elegant Escape
Not just a Pipe dream in Handicap Hurdle
A total of 22 runners have been declared for the competitive-looking Betfair Stayers' Handicap Hurdle, with the market headed by David Pipe's 5yo Umbrigado at 4/1.
The Pipe team are no strangers to success in this race having won it in 2010 (Grands Crus), 2011 (Dynaste) and 2013 (Gevrey Chamberlin), while the contest has also thrown up some high quality winners down the years, perhaps none more so than last year's victor Paisley Park who went on to win the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Rebecca Curtis' Lisnagar Oscar is the 6/1 second favourite ahead of 8/1 shots Ask Ben and Tedham. It's 10/1 bar the rest and Tony Calvin has previewed the race here in his weekly antepost column.
Betfair Stayers' Handicap Hurdle Betting
6/1 Lisnagar Oscar
8/1 Ask Ben
10/1 Flash The Steel
10/1 Highland Hunter