Game Spirit Chase Betting Tips – 10th February 2018
The first Dublin Racing Festival got rave reviews last weekend. The organisers at Leopardstown did a great job but if there was one disappointment, it was the lack of top class horses who made the journey over from England.
Still, Leopardstown did a very good job of whetting the appetite ahead of next month’s Cheltenham Betting Festival and that baton is picked up this weekend by Newbury Racecourse.
Betfair Super Saturday is always a popular stop off for trainers looking to work their best horses in the lead up to Cheltenham. The Game Spirit Chase is one of the most highly anticipated races in that regard and it’s all the more exciting this year as Altior looks set to make his return after a wind operation.
Find someone who looks at you the way Nicky looks at Altior ?? https://t.co/arSx1eAwFZ— Great British Racing (@GBRacing) February 6, 2018
Past Five Winners
2017 – Altior, aged 7, ridden by Nico de Boinville, trained by Nicky Henderson
2016 – Tom Gamble, aged 8, ridden by Richard Johnson, trained by Kerry Lee
2015 – Mr Mole, aged 7, ridden by Tony McCoy, trained by Paul Nicholls
2014 – Module, aged 7, ridden by Paddy Brennan, trained by Tom George
2013 – Wishfull Thinking, aged 10, ridden by Richard Johnson, trained by Philip Hobbs
All About the Favourite in the Game Spirit Chase
Altior was already a very highly regarded horse before winning the Game Spirit Chase (known as the Betfair Exchange Chase for sponsorship reasons) last year. But it was the nature of his victory, by 13 lengths from Fox Norton that really caught the eye.
Altior followed up his win in this Grade 2, two mile, one furlong steeplechase by winning the Arkle at Cheltenham.
That was Altior’s second win at the Cheltenham Festival having bagged the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2016. This year it’s the Queen Mother Champion Chase that Nicky Henderson is targeting Altior at and the eight-year-old has been installed as the ante post favourite across the board for that big Cheltenham race.
Will that change after Super Saturday?
Altior is the clear favourite for the Game Spirit Chase at a best price of 10/11 with the sponsors, Betfair. There’s no doubt he has the beating of this field but some punters are getting twitchy over comments made by Henderson that suggested Altior will be pulled from the contest at the last minute.
Ultimately, it’s a personal decision.
While we think that Altior will win should he turn up at Newbury, taking 10/11 is something of a gamble. On the other hand, you won’t get that price on the day so being brave could well pay off.
Of course, another option is to back Altior for a third straight Cheltenham success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at 11/8 with Sportingbet.
Other Quality Options for the Cautious
Even if Altior does turn up ready to fire at Newbury he still has to finish ahead of some top quality horses.
Fox Norton may have been well beaten by the favourite in the 2017 Game Spirit Chase but Colin Tizzard’s gelding bounced back with three straight wins including in the Melling Chase at Aintree.
The main concern about Fox Norton is that this is never his strongest time of the year. Tizzard wants him to be at his best in the months to come so he’s one to swerve for now but keep an eye on his odds for the Ryanair Chase and Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
Politologue is another worthy contender to Altior but if you’re looking for each-way value it may lie with Saint Calvados.
The five-year-old is a novice and surely needs a lot of improvement to be considered a potential winner. However, with the potential for Altior to win by another big distance, Saint Calvados could get the better of his more illustrious rivals as they ease towards the winning post so back him each-way at 25/1 with Paddy Power.