The BetBright Chase is this Saturday’s headline contest at Kempton with cases to be made for any number of the 13 declared horses.
Colin Tizzard’s Theatre Guide is one of the leading contenders having landed the Grade 3 contest last year while 2016 runner-up Opening Batsman is also set to re-appear.
Tizzard’s 10-year-old has since finished eighth in the Hennessy Gold Cup, won a pattern race at Cheltenham and came a creditable seventh in the Welsh National.
This weekend’s assignment should provide an easier test but it’s not the defending champion who we’re siding with.
Instead, Tom George’s Double Shuffle is the horse foremost in our minds with his course and distance win at the end of December still fresh enough in the memory.
George certainly has an affinity with this race, having won it in 2009 and 2012, as well as recording second and third-placed finishes in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The Gloucestershire saddler also had last year’s third amongst his ranks in the shape of Roc D’aspis.
And the signs all point towards Double Shuffle enjoying another big run in Surrey.
Nine of the last 10 winners were priced between 4/1 and 12/1 with our selection currently the 5/1 favourite to take the spoils.
Other notables include last month’s Market Rasen winner, Three Musketeers. At 7/1, our odds-compilers are certainly giving Dan Skelton’s charge a fighting chance although this will be his first attempt over three miles.
Viva Steve (13/2) made too many mistakes to mount a serious challenge when enjoying his first crack at graded level last time out. Meanwhile, Caspian Caviar Gold Cup second Aso (10/1) could be worth a punt having previously impressed over a shorter distance.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing