Betfair Ascot Chase Preview: Dynaste can better old rival

Ben thinks it could be worth taking on Silviniaco Conti on Saturday
Ben thinks it could be worth taking on Silviniaco Conti on Saturday

Timeform's Ben Fearnley previews the Betfair Ascot Chase, Saturday's big Grade 1, and recommends a bet.

"With Silviniaco Conti more vulnerable than usual, Dynaste can go some way to evening the scores between the pair..."

At first glance Saturday's Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase looks a rather unappealing betting race, considering that the Timeform top rated - and current favourite - Silviniaco Conti dropped away so alarmingly on his last start, which came in the red-hot King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Silviniaco Conti's second to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase on his previous start wasn't quite the level he ran to when winning the two previous renewals of the King George, but it was not far off his best, which made his latest Boxing Day effort all the more disappointing. Many may be able to excuse that run - after all it was a very strong renewal - but when you consider this was just the second time he has failed to complete a race in the six years he has been with Paul Nicholls (fell in the 2013 Gold Cup) he perhaps has something extra to prove for a horse usually so consistent. There will also be a slight question mark about the drop to this trip, which he has not tackled since 2011, and all things considered, he is worth taking on at the prices.

However potentially vulnerable the favourite may be, there are not a raft of obvious alternatives to take him on with here. Ma Filleule has yet to run within 20 lb of her best over fences this season after four starts - albeit with two of those being over hurdles - and she also has something to prove. If returning to the sort of form that saw her finishing second both in this race last year and the Ryanair at the Festival, then she is certainly in with a chance, but overall it is hard to ignore her rather underwhelming start to the campaign.

There are doubts about plenty of the rest here, too, not least Triolo d'Alene, whose wide-margin win in a three-runner listed race at Kempton last time is hard to assess. Vibrato Valtat has to prove he can stay this far, after just about coping with a test of speed over 2m 4f at Aintree as a novice last season, while Royal Regatta seems a very short price in this grade, seeing as he was beaten (albeit shaping best) off a BHA mark of 149 in a handicap last time.

Irish raider Flemenstar has run as well as he has done for many a year on his last couple of starts, taking advantage of Un De Sceaux's fall over Christmas at Leopardstown to win a fourth Grade 1, before finishing second to Felix Yonger in the Tied Cottage at Punchestown most recently. That form looks solid, as opposed to strong, and though he arrives here in good heart - which is more than can be said for a few of these - he is probably playing for a place again here, in truth.

A horse with the form to win this sort of race, and with slightly less to prove than the majority is Dynaste, and he looks the bet at the time of writing. Though Dynaste has yet to make it back into the winner's enclosure since winning the Ryanair at the Festival in 2014, he has been a stalwart at this level since, and has often just found one or two too good whilst posting plenty of creditable efforts in some top class races. He was beaten into second by Silviniaco Conti in both the Aintree Bowl in 2014 and last season's King George, and he found only the resurgent Cue Card too strong in a decent renewal of the Charlie Hall earlier this season. With Silviniaco Conti more vulnerable than usual, Dynaste can go some way to evening the scores between the pair, which currently stand at 5-1 in favour of the former.

Recommended Bet
Back Dynaste in the Ascot Chase

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