The Three Big Contenders for the Chase Triple Crown
The 2017/18 National Hunt season is now underway in the UK and many connections both sides of the Irish Sea will be planning the route their horses will take through the campaign, where many will have one eye on the Chase Triple Crown.
Any horse which wins the Betfair Chase, King George VI Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season will earn their connections a £1 million bonus. Cue Card has come close on a couple of occasions in recent years but fell short in the last leg of the treble. Here is a look at the three horses who are most likely to be in contention for the bonus in the 2017/18 season.
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Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner goes into the new campaign as the horse to beat in the 3m plus division. He proved that he had the class and stamina to be successful in the Blue Riband event at the Cheltenham Festival last March, while a month later he added the Punchestown Gold Cup to end the season on a high. In the early stages of his career, Jessica Harrington’s runner had to settle for the placings in a lot of the leading 2m chases in the UK and Ireland. He was given an experimental run in the Irish Gold Cup earlier in the year and passed with flying colours at Leopardstown, which prompted connections to stay at 3m and beyond. Sizing John has opened up as the bookmakers’ favourite for the Betfair Chase and looking at his ratings and results at Timeform from the last 12 months, he has justified being the market leader for the Haydock contest and the other two legs of the Chase Triple Crown.
The star novice chaser of last season in the 3m division was Might Bite as he won the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, while a month later he was even more impressive at Aintree in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase. Nicky Henderson’s runner will now test himself against more seasoned chasers this season, however, many pundits believe he is good enough to make an immediate impact. If he can score at Haydock in the opening leg of the Chase Triple Crown, he may become the new favourite to win the King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup.
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At the age of 11, Cue Card is set for his 31st chase next month at Haydock in a race he has won on three occasions. Colin Tizzard’s stable star has shone in the early stages of the last two seasons as not only as he proved too strong at the Lancashire track, but he has followed it up with victory in the King George. Sadly, Cue Card has struggled in the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he has fallen on his two attempts. Given his talent, it is difficult to rule him out of the Chase Triple Chase as if he returns with the same enthusiasm for racing, he is going to be in the mix again.
The opening leg of the Chase Triple Crown begins on November 25 with the Betfair Chase at Haydock in what could be a strong renewal of the 3m contest.