Sam win wouldn’t be out there

Ian Ogg analyses the last 10 renewals of Saturday's Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster and picks out the key statistics.

Out Sam may be able to put it all together at Doncaster

The Sky Bet Chase (formerly known as the Great Yorkshire Chase) has been something of a movable feast, not least because two renewals were held at Southwell during Doncaster's redevelopment.

The ratings band has also been amended on several occasions and this will be the second running of the race without an upper limit on the handicap rating. The race was run for three years as a 0-155 and two as a 0-150 having previously been a 0-145.

It is well worth then questioning the worth of any statistics relating to handicap ratings and weight but it is still notable that eight of the last nine winners have been rated between 128 and 139 despite the rising rating band.

Unexposed runners towards the head of the market continue to do well and Bigbadjohn will do for many from a potentially decent mark having chased home Thistlecrack last time and having beaten the subsequently impressive Our Kaempfer prior to that.

The latter's stable is represented by last year's runner-up Coologue along with Long Lunch and there is no reason why the former shouldn't go well again, along with last year's winner Ziga Boy.

They are more exposed than the typical winner though whereas Southfield Boy fits the bill as a second season chaser. A recent run has been advantageous and he is also a little higher in the weights than most winners with only Calgary Bay rated higher than 139.

It could be that higher rated runners gradually come to the fore as the race settles down but that hasn't been the case yet so the focus remains on those lower down the handicap and there's no shortage of possible candidates.

Potters Cross, stablemate of the favourite, may be 10 years of age but he's only had eight chase starts and will need to go up in the handicap if he's to fulfil his trainer's aspirations of running in the Grand National. His win in a class 2 handicap at Chepstow reads well enough in the context of this race and Paul Townend is a positive booking for the yard although he has jumped right-handed in the past.

He had Another Hero behind that day but Jonjo O'Neill's runner, who has attracted support during the week, improved from that seasonal reappearance to finish on the heels of the leaders at Ascot (Tenor Nivernais third) and could easily take another step forwards.

Out Sam is another second season chaser who has attracted support – as has often been the case – and he stepped up on his previous efforts to finish third at Kempton in first time cheekpieces but his jumping again left something to be desired.

Nicky Richards saddles Ballyboker Breeze and Looking Well in an attempt to break the dominance of southern based trainers and the former, in particular, merits respect after impressing last time.

There's little to split a number of these including the favourite but the suggestion is to give another chance to Out Sam in the hope that he can put together a clear round of jumping as he's shown more than enough in his races to suggest that he's handicapped to win a race of this nature.

  • Winners have been aged seven (4), eight (2), nine (3) and ten.
  • Winners have carried between 10-0 and 11-11 with seven weighted between 10-0 and 10-12.
  • Winners have been rated between 123 and 151 with eight of the last nine between 128 and 139.
  • Winners have been priced between 4/1 and 25/1 with two favourites successful.
  • Four winners finished in the frame on their preceding start with three successful.
  • Six winners had their preceding start either in the last week of December or in January.
  • Four winners had won a race during the current season.
  • Five winners had run no more than six times over fences.
  • Five winners hadn't previously won a handicap.
  • All winners had won over three miles or beyond.
  • Five second season chasers and two novices have been successful.

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