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Saturday is bet365 Charlie Hall Chase Day
  1. Horse Racing

Horse Racing: bet365 Charlie Hall Chase preview

The bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday afternoon has been confirmed as the latest instalment of the intriguing Ahoy Senor versus Bravemansgame rivalry.

The pair were the headline names as final declarations came in for Saturday's Grade 2 contest, set to go off at 3.35, with another five rivals joining them in a classy line-up for Wetherby's highlight of the year.

The bet365 Charlie Hall Chase is viewed as the key autumn staying chase in Britain, one of the first major such contests of the new season and this year's line-up has not disappointed, with all the action available to watch on our Sports Live Streaming platform.

Whatbet365 Charlie Hall Chase
WhereWetherby Racecourse,
When3.35, Saturday 29th October 2022
How to watchITV Racing, Racing TV & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsBravemansgame 5/4, Ahoy Senor 9/4, Eldorado Allen 5/1, Secret Investor 11/1, Win My Wings 16/1, Sam Brown 20/1, Paint The Dream 100/1

Ahoy Senor returns for Russell

There's no doubting that Ahoy Senor has become the shining light of the Lucinda Russell team. It will be 12 months this week since he unshipped Derek Fox at Carlisle on his chasing debut but, if that was something of a false start, he's made plenty of hay since.

He won the Grade 2 John Francome Novices' Chase at Newbury last November by a whopping 31 lengths, defeating a well-touted Henry De Bromhead raider, Mr Invincible. 

In February, he landed the Towton Novices' Chase over this weekend's course and distance at Wetherby. Having chased home L'homme Presse at the Cheltenham Festival, Ahoy Senor then went to Aintree and won the Manifesto Novices' Chase in April, his second successive Grade 1-winning spring success at the Merseyside track.

It also tilted the books in his favour in the head-to-head with Bravemansgame - second when Ahoy Senor was a 66/1 winner of the Sefton Novices' Hurdle in 2021 and a tame last of four in the Mildmay as Russell's charge reaffirmed his love for Aintree, beating Gordon Elliott's Fury Road by five lengths with the aforementioned L'homme Presse easily repelled in third as the Cheltenham form was reversed in some style.

Nicholls charge has got Game

Bravemansgame went into the Aintree contest as the one to beat (sent off 11/8 favourite), having skipped Cheltenham when champion trainer Paul Nicholls decreed the rain-softened ground had gone against him on raceday.

Unbeaten as a chaser to that point, with four wins, Bravemansgame appeared to go through the Aintree race well enough, but his challenge quickly petered out once the taps were turned on by front-running Ahoy Senor.

It was a huge turnaround from their Kauto Star Novices' Chase collision at Kempton on Boxing Day, where Bravemansgame accelerated clear of Ahoy Senor at will once asked by Harry Cobden.

The score between the pair now stands at 2-1 to Ahoy Senor and Saturday's instalment is a about as mouthwatering a rematch as could have been hoped for in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase as these two second-season chasers get their campaigns up and running.

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Straight on the attack

It's unlikely that Ahoy Senor's approach will change much. He likes front-running and his best efforts suggests he's an out-and-out stayer, likely in time to relish the 3m2f Cheltenham Gold Cup distance - he's 10/1 for that race come 17th March, with Bravemansgame 33/1.

Kempton last Christmas really played to the strengths of the Nicholls horse. He's a speedy and economical jumper and he's very likely to be back there come Boxing Day for the King George. 

Nicholls suggested post-Aintree that his charge had gone over the top, having been a late absentee at Cheltenham weeks before - the Ditcheat supremo adamant he 'left his race behind without running' that day. 

He's still got a question to answer on the back of Aintree, however, and at Wetherby on Saturday we'll surely get a major hint as to whether he can answer it.

Win or lose, Bravemansgame needs to see out three-miles on this track strongly having undergone wind surgery if he's to harbour leading claims in open-company Grade 1s in the coming months.

Ahoy Senor will try to drag the sting from him, exposing his possible stamina limitations and it's a fascinating battle between these old friends.

What about the remainder?

The big pair don't have this to themselves. Among their rivals will be last season's Haldon Gold Cup and Denman Chase winner Eldorado Allen - now in the sole care of Joe Tizzard since his father Colin retired - while Scottish Grand National heroine Win My Wings will also make her return at the Yorkshire track for Christian Williams.

The latter had quite a season last time, winning the Eider Chase at Newcastle before her Scottish National. She stays much further than this bare three miles and may find that a few of these are too classy, but she'll pick up any scraps offered.

Eldorado Allen is far from exposed as a staying chaser, but he came up well short in the Aintree Bowl in the spring, his first time going beyond three miles. He needs something more on his comeback, especially when giving 3lb to the big pair in the market.

Nicholls will also be represented by Secret Investor, who makes his comeback following a 615-day layoff – when he turned over stablemate Clan Des Obeaux in the Denman Chase with Bryony Frost on board.

It does, though, look as though Bravemansgame is much more likely to give Nicholls a fifth bet365 Charlie Hall Chase win of his career.

Sam Brown and Paint The Dream complete the line-up for Anthony Honeyball and Fergal O'Brien respectively and have plenty to find on ratings. 

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