2019 Ascot Chase Odds and Betting Preview

After the excellent news emanating from the British Horseracing Authority on Monday evening that Racing will commence again from Wednesday afternoon onwards, hopefully the recent doom and gloom following the Equine Flu saga is now over and out.

Last weekend’s excellent Newbury card was one of the key casualties of the illness embargo, but the BHA have thankfully extended Saturday’s Ascot fixture to nine races – by including the Denman Chase and Betfair Hurdle, from the previous Newbury card.

Those extra races have excellent quality, but our choice of race for Saturday is the Ascot Chase – raced over two miles and five furlongs – due off at 15:55 GMT – and this is a key preparation for horses who are likely to contest the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

History and Previous Winners

The Ascot Chase is a Grade 1 Chase ridden over National Hunt rules, which is open to horses aged five years or older. During its running there are seventeen fences to be jumped.

The event was first run in 1995, as the Comet Chase, and its distance was originally set at two miles and threeandhalf furlongs. This was modified slightly when the race was temporarily switched to Lingfield Park, and also upon its return to Ascot in 2007. The present length was introduced in 2008. The race was run on a Wednesday until 1998, moving to its current Saturday in 1999.

Some of the finest horses in recent memory have captured the Ascot Chase since its inception in 1995, including legendary chasers, One Man (1998) and Teeton Mill (1999). Tuitchev won this race twice in 2001 and 2003 under trainers Nicky Henderson and Martin Pipe. Fellow star chasers, Our Vic (2006), Monet’s Garden (2007 and 2010) and Kauto Star (2008) are all previous winners.

Riverside Theatre (2011-12) and Cue Card (2013 and 2017) are other previous double winners, with Silviniaco Conti another high-profile equine success back in 2016. The Ruth Jefferson trained, Waiting Patiently took last year’s renewal, and is entered within the five-day declarations to try and repeat the performance of twelve months ago. This year’s Ascot Chase line-up is very high on quality, provided that the current entrants stand their ground.

In this preview, we will look at some of the main contenders for this year’s renewal, to try and point our readers in the right direction for a winning bet.

Repeat Bid for Waiting Patiently?

Waiting Patiently

Waiting Patiently

Ruth Jefferson’s stable star returns to Ascot this weekend following an inauspicious performance last time out in the King George Chase on Boxing Day. Before that outing, Waiting Patiently was previously unbeaten in six starts over fences, but came to grief at the ninth fence in Kempton’s showpiece.

Many, including the bookmakers in particular, believe that Waiting Patiently will gain due recompense this Saturday as the eightyearold is favourite to claim his second Ascot Chase and can be backed at the best industry odds at the time of writing of 15/8 with Betfred and. The form of Waiting Patiently’s win in this race last year is strong with Cue Card and the vastly improved Frodon trailing in almost 18 lengths behind the winner. A similar effort could well be enough to repeat the success.

Dual Threat for Nicholls

Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls

10-time Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls knows exactly what it takes to win big Saturday races, and the Ditcheat handler has a dual threat to all in the Ascot Chase with the fast improving Cyrname and Politologue.

Cyrname showed significantly improved form last time out – over course and distance at Ascot – by claiming a Class 2 Handicap Chase by an eased down 21 lengths from Doitforthevillage. That hugely impressive performance in lesser shows Cyrname deserves the chance to run in races of the highest quality. William Hill are the stand-out price of 7/2 on the sevenyearold. Another significant pointer is the choice of leading stable jockey, Harry Cobden, who has opted for Cyrname.

Politologue has been a standing dish at the top level for a consistent period of time, and the eightyearold can be trusted to run up to his ability here. Sam Twiston-Davies has ridden the popular grey several times over his career, and if there are any chinks in the armour of the aforementioned pair then Politologue could take advantage. At the current price of 7/2 with Betway, Politologue is highly likely to be in the mix at the end of the race.

Outside Hope

Fox Norton

Fox Norton

Colin Tizzard’s nine-year-old Fox Norton has been a model of consistency during his career and should not be disregarded when considering the winner of the Ascot Chase. The incompletion in the 2017 King George at Kempton is the only blemish in 11 races for Fox Norton, who has either won or finished in second place during that run.

William Hill are once again top price on Fox Norton of 7/1, who creditably finished seven lengths behind the mighty Altior at Ascot last month to highlight his wellbeing. The distance of 21 furlongs is a small concern for Fox Norton, who has produced most of his best performances at shorter trips, but this horse has the class to make his presence felt.

Conclusion

Despite the small, but select field, this is a highly competitive affair. All four above can hold claim to taking the race, without even mentioning, Charbel and Aso, who complete the line-up. Waiting Patiently is a previous winner of the Ascot Chase and is an obvious leading contender. It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see Ruth Jefferson’s charge repeating his success of twelve months ago.

However, a chance is taken on Cyrname to show that his excellent run at Ascot last time out was not a flash in the pan. Harry Cobden will have had the choice of the Nicholls pair, and that decision may well be significant. 7/2 looks to be reasonable value on the improving sevenyearold.

Best Bet: