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How To Bet £20 ante-post on the Classic Chase on Saturday

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Mon 10 Jan 2022

Andy Stephens suggested bets on the first two home in the Warwick feature last year and seeks to do similar this weekend.

 Saint Palais, left, and Gericault Roque are locked together at Newbury (Focusonracing)
Saint Palais, left, and Gericault Roque are locked together at Newbury (Focusonracing)

The retirement of Vieux Lion Rouge has left a void at David Pipe’s Pond House yard but Gericault Roque, who is in the same ownership, looks cut from a similar cloth and makes plenty of appeal in Saturday’s Aeteur UK Ltd Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick.

It’s early days to be making conclusions about the six-year-old as he’s had only seven runs under Rules – and just three of them over fences – but it looks a case of the further being the better for him, with his jumping also an asset.

Gericault Roque won two of his three races over hurdles last season, signing off with a stout staying performance to score at Sandown. He had unfinished business in that sphere but he was clearly just marking time over the smaller obstacles and Pipe wasted no time switching him to the larger obstacles this term.

He seemed to find 2m 3f too sharp on his chasing debut at Wetherby in late October but his next effort, over almost 3m at Chepstow, was much more like it as he kept on well to split Pats Fancy and Broken Lad. That form has worked out well, with the winner following up in runaway style at the same track off a 10lb higher mark over Christmas and the third scoring at Exeter on New Year’s Day.

Gericault Roque also ran well over the festive period, drawing clear with Saint Palais over 3m 2f in the Mandarin Chase at Newbury. The pair pulled 11 lengths ahead (watch above) and the exciting young winner, who was completing a hat-trick of wins, has since gone up 10lb in the ratings.

The assessor has pushed Gericault Roque up 6lb but there should be plenty more to come from him given his lightly-raced nature, especially as his stamina is drawn out. Three of the past seven Classic Chase winners have been rated 133 or 134, and he runs off the former mark at the weekend.

With a relatively dry week forecast, the word “good” may creep into the going description but that would not be a concern, as he’s shown his form on a range of ground. He’s too young to be eligible for year’s Grand National but it’s not hard to see him running at Aintree one day and getting the chance to emulate Vieux Lion Rouge, who won two Becher Chases and ran well in the National itself on several occasions.

Fergus Gillard has twice ridden Gericault Roque and would be able to claim 3lb if getting the call-up, but I’d imagine stable No 1 Tom Scudamore will be in the saddle. William Hill make the tip a best-priced 7-1 and that looks too big.

Last year’s first two home, Notachance (9-1) and Achille (11-1), feature among 17 possible rivals. The former has since offered little and, despite slipping back to the same mark, is difficult to enthuse about, while Achille is 4lb higher and could be vulnerable to fresher legs after tough recent races in the Becher Chase and Welsh Grand National, especially away from soft ground.

Corach Rambler wins again at Cheltenham

Bigger threats look Commodore (6-1) and Corach Rambler (13-2), successful in contrasting style on the New Course at Cheltenham last month.

Commodore was an exhilarating all-the-way winner of a 3m 2f handicap, when he jumped superbly and had the spoils in safe keeping a long way out after a ten-month absence and another wind op. The grey, a general 6-1 chance, will clearly take some catching if in similar form but he’s gone up 9lb and, perhaps more significant, his profile points to him being when fresh.

Enjoy Classic Chase memories going back to the 1970s

Corach Rambler made harder work of his victory, yet appeared to win with plenty left in the tank. He looks the type who could gallop all day and, like Gericault Roque, is a novice with few miles on the clock, with Lucinda Russell rightly suggesting on Monday there is “wriggle room” in his mark of 142.

My concern for him is whether Warwick, where the fences come fast and you need to find an early rhythm, will suit as he took a bit of time to get organised last time and possibly has an idea or two of his own. But, overall, I’m a fan and he warrants a small saver.

Another worth a mention is The Hollow Ginge (14-1). The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained nine-year-old blows hot and cold but he should have won on his return at Cheltenham (before failing to fire in the Ladbrokes Trophy last time) and there’s no doubt he has the ability to make his presence felt if in the mood. He can be excused being pulled up in last year’s renewal of the Classic Chase as he’d run in the Welsh National only the previous week.

How To Bet £20 ante-post on the Classic Chase on Saturday

£17 win on Gericault Roque at 7-1 with William Hill

£3 win on Corach Rambler at 13-2 with William Hill

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