There is plenty of rain forecast at Haydock on the run up to Betfair Chase day, so John Ingles of Timeform has picked out five horses who will relish conditions.
"Conditions were so bad when she won at Exeter, in fact, that the rest of the meeting was abandoned..."
John Ingles on Midnight Tune
DO YOUR JOB (12.10)
The winner of his sole start in Irish points and from the family of Gold Cup winner Long Run, all four of Do Your Job's races over hurdles to date have come on either soft or heavy ground. He chased home the promising Brinkley at Newbury on his final start last season and has returned this term with wins in novice hurdles at Ffos Las and Ayr last month, both run in very testing conditions. The first two pulled more than thirty lengths clear of the third at Ffos Las, while at Ayr Do Your Job made all for a bloodless success over a Dan Skelton-trained rival who has won since. He's a likeable and progressive type who looks ready for the step up to listed level.
Soft or heavy ground seems to have brought out the best so far in this son of French sire Martaline. Arrivederci made a winning debut in bumpers on heavy ground and got off the mark over hurdles in a maiden event at Wincanton on his final outing of last season. Only the subsequent Tolworth winner Fiddlerontheroof had prevented Arrivederci opening his account at Sandown the time before. The going was soft again when Arrivederci made a successful reappearance against seventeen rivals in a handicap at Wetherby last month, impressing with the way he travelled through the race and then forged clear on the run-in. That was much his best effort so far, and he's sure to be of interest again under similar conditions.
IMPERIAL ALCAZAR (14.25)
All seven of Imperial Alcazar's starts to date have come on ground softer than good and he is yet to finish out of the frame. He won a maiden at Aintree on his hurdling debut last October and ended last season landing the odds in a novice hurdle at Leicester when staying on well over two and a half miles on heavy ground, giving the firm impression he'll be suited by stepping up to Saturday's distance of three miles for the first time. Imperial Alcazar was unfortunate not to have another win on soft ground to his name after a narrow defeat in a listed novices' hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. Beaten a head by Protektorat who crossed him on the run-in, Imperial Alcazar was awarded the race on the day before the winner was reinstated at a later date.
BRISTOL DE MAI (15.00)
Bristol de Mai is back for a fourth appearance in the Betfair Chase, a race he won in both 2017 and 2018. His second victory, when beating Gold Cup winner Native River with Clan des Obeaux, who takes him on again on Saturday, further back, came on good ground, but Bristol de Mai has done most of his winning in the mud. There was no better demonstration of how well he goes in very testing conditions than his 2017 Betfair win when making all to beat the three-time winner Cue Card by fifty-seven lengths, a record margin in a Grade 1. A good second to Lostintranslation when beaten for the first time in five starts at Haydock twelve months ago, Bristol de Mai could have the softest conditions he's faced for a while on Saturday.
MIDNIGHT TUNE (15.35)
Welsh Grand National entry Midnight Tune makes her reappearance here after a highly successful season as a novice over fences last term. Already a three-time winner over hurdles, all on heavy ground, she was successful in mares' events at Uttoxeter, Exeter and Warwick last season, again when the going was heavy each time. Conditions were so bad when she won at Exeter, in fact, that the rest of the meeting was abandoned. Midnight Tune found the Peter Marsh Chase here too competitive, when slightly out of the weights, and had excuses on her final start when going off much too hard adopting her usual front-running tactics.
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