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Colin Tizzard tempted to run Elegant Escape in Betfair Chase if ground is heavy

Wed 6 Nov 2019

Colin Tizzard says he would be tempted to run Elegant Escape in this month’s Betfair Chase if the ground at Haydock comes up suitably testing.

Last season’s Welsh National winner returned to action with a solid second to Ballyoptic in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last weekend and features among 11 possibles to stand their ground for the £200,000 feature after the latest confirmations.

While Tizzard is also contemplating a run in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, he may run Elegant Escape on Merseyside instead if the ground is testing on November 23 – despite also having Lostintranslation earmarked for that event.

The Milborne Port trainer said: “He got beaten by a race-fit horse. At one stage, it didn’t look like he would finish where he did – but he stayed on beautifully.

“He might go to Haydock if it is ‘Haydock heavy’, now that he has had a run. A lot of ours are improving massively for a run.”

Elegant Escape’s performance on Saturday was a pleasant surprise for his trainer.

Tizzard added: “We thought he might have been a bit heavy, going to Wetherby, but he ran fine.

“He could either go there or the Ladbrokes Trophy, but we still need to talk to John (Romans, owner).

“If the ground is heavy at Haydock we would have a go at that. Not that we want to take on Lostintranslation, but last season we ran both Thistlecrack and Native River in it. I’d say we are weather-driven.

Angus McNae and Dave Yates analyse the Charlie Hall in The Verdict

“On good ground around Kempton, it (King George) would be too fast for him because he looks like a thorough stayer. If the ground is heavy at Haydock it would come under consideration.”

Bristol De Mai, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, is bidding to become the third horse to win at least three renewals of the Grade One showpiece, following on from Kauto Star (2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011) and Cue Card (2013, 2015 and 2016).

A fine third in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, the eight-year-old son is 7-4 favourite with the sponsor.

Bristol De Mai was himself initially heading to the Charlie Hall before connections decided to head straight to Haydock Park with the 170-rated star.

Twiston-Davies said: "Bristol De Mai is in good form. Everything is fine with him and we just decided to head straight for Haydock.

"We did it last year and it worked well, so hopefully things can go well again this time around.

"He had a great season last term and we were delighted with his third in the Gold Cup. Hopefully, he can continue improving this term."

He could be joined by stable companion Ballyoptic, who is quoted at 12-1.

 Altior remains among 11 engaged in the Betfair Chase but is set to run elsewhere (Focusonracing)
Altior remains among 11 engaged in the Betfair Chase but is set to run elsewhere (Focusonracing)

Ballyoptic has come out of the Charlie Hall fine," Twiston-Davies said. "We were always going to enter him in the Betfair Chase after that victory and he could also run."

Frodon and Black Corton could represent Paul Nicholls. Nicky Henderson has left in Altior and Might Bite, but has identified alternative targets for the pair.

An Irish-trained horse has yet to win the Betfair Chase, but there are two possible raiders this year in Henry de Bromhead’s Balko Des Flos and the Noel Meade-trained Tout Est Permis, who carry the colours of Gigginstown House Stud.

Betfair Chase, the sponsor bets: 7-4 Bristol De Mai, 15-8 Lostintranslation, 7-1 Frodon, 8-1 Altior, 12-1 Ballyoptic, 14-1 Balko Des Flos, Black Corton, Might Bite, 20-1 Tout Est Permis, Elegant Escape, 33-1 Valtor.

Any Horse to win The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown: 14-1.

The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown Odds: 40-1 Lostintranslation. 100-1 Bristol De Mai. 150-1 Frodon, Might Bite

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