Dingo Dollar fancied the for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster this Saturday, he is currently the 5/2 favourite.
The three-mile handicap chase is part of the fantastic seven-race card with record prize money of £100,000 in 2019, during the seven-race Doncaster card there is also three G2 contests and the Sky Bet Extra Place Races Handicap Chase (3.50pm, 13 entries).
Bookmakers are starting to ramp up their Cheltenham efforts, and there are already a couple of competitions to win tickets, including to Gold Cup Day starting to surface.
Dingo Dollar (Alan King, 11st 5lb) is the 5/2 the market leader with Sky Bet after finishing a good third behind Sizing Tennessee in the G3 Ladbrokes Trophy Handicap chase at Newbury on December 1.
The seven-year-old scored twice over fences last season, including enjoying a decisive course and distance victory in a February novices’ chase, and finished runner-up under top-weight in Ayr’s Novices Championship Handicap Chase in April.
His trainer Alan King is seeking a third Sky Bet Chase triumph, after Ziga Boy captured back-to-back renewals in 2016 and 2017.
Jerry Wright, co-owner of Dingo Dollar, said today: “All is well with Dingo Dollar and he is all set for the Sky Bet Chase.
“We have made a second entry for him at Cheltenham on Saturday, but that is purely precautionary if the ground did happen to come up fast at Doncaster, which looks very unlikely given the forecast.
“The Sky Bet Chase has been the plan since he ran well in the Ladbrokes Trophy. He won a three-mile novices’ chase at Doncaster last season, so we know he likes the track and we are very much looking forward to it.
“Although there was a lot of comment at the time saying that it wasn’t the strongest renewal of the Ladbrokes Trophy, the second [Elegant Escape] and the fourth [Beware The Bear] have both won competitive races since, and the fifth [West Approach] was a good second in the Long Walk Hurdle.
“I think the form stacks up pretty well and if Dingo Dollar replicates his performance there on ground that was softer than ideal, then he should go pretty close.
“He is only a seven-year-old and Alan said right at the beginning of the season that he will have two targets, with the early-season target being the Ladbrokes Trophy and the spring target being the Scottish Grand National.
“He ran a great race at Ayr on his final start last season and both Alan and Wayne (Hutchinson, jockey) said it would be great to take him back there.”
O O Seven (Nicky Henderson, 11st 9lb, 7/1 with Sky Bet) and Go Conquer (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 8/1) have already clashed over course and distance this season on December 15, with O O Seven prevailing by a half-length in a thrilling finish.
The Sky Bet Chase weights are headed by 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup secondMinella Rocco (Jonjo O’Neill, 11st 12lb, 16/1), who has not been seen out since falling in the G1 Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February, 2018. In the meantime, he has undergone a wind operation.
Last year’s Sky Bet Chase runner-up Warriors Tale (11st 10lb, 8/1) is one of three remaining entries for trainer Paul Nicholls. Warriors Tale gained a deserved success on his latest start in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, staged over the Grand National fences, at Aintree on December 8.
The Nicholls trio is completed by Art Mauresque (11st 9lb, 10/1), who was just touched off in a valuable G3 handicap chase at Ascot on his latest start, and three-time chase winner Favorito Buck’s (10st 4lb, 16/1).
Willie Boy (Charlie Longsdon, 11st 2lb, 12/1) is set to tackle three miles for the first time after scoring by 11 lengths in handicap chase over just shy of two and a half miles at Wetherby on December 26.
The same applies to Calipto (Venetia Williams, 11st, 16/1) who won by four lengths in a two and a half-mile handicap chase at Wincanton on January 5.
North Yorkshire trainer Peter Niven, who won the Sky Bet Chase twice as a jockey, has targeted the race with Brian Boranha (10st 10lb, 16/1). The progressive eight-year-old has not raced since landing the Durham National Handicap Chase at Sedgefield in October.
Singlefarmpayment (Tom George, 11st 4lb, 10/1) and On Tour (Evan Williams, 10st 4lb, 16/1) both ran well in valuable contests last time out.
Singlefarmpayment went down by a short-head to Cogry in a G3 handicap chase at Cheltenham in December, while On Tour finished third in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase series final at Sandown Park on January 5.
Becher Handicap Chase fifth Federici (Donald McCain, 10st 1lb, 25/1) and course and distance winner Monbeg River (Martin Todhunter, 10st 4lb, 20/1) complete the 14 acceptors.
Michael Shinners, Racing PR Director at Sky Bet, said: “We are delighted that the prize fund for the Sky Bet Chase has risen to £100,000 in 2019.
“Trainer Alan King saddled Ziga Boy to back-to-back wins in the 2016 and 2017 Sky Bet Chase and he is responsible this year for Dingo Dollar, who has a good profile for the race and is Sky Bet’s clear 5/2 favourite.”
Sky Bet Chase – Sky Bet prices:
5/2 Dingo Dollar;
7/1 O O Seven;
8/1 Go Conquer, Warriors Tale;
10/1 Art Mauresque, Singlefarmpayment;
12/1 Willie Boy;
16/1 Brian Boranha, Calipto, Favorito Buck’s, Minella Rocco, On Tour;
20/1 Monbeg River;
Doncaster’s seven-race programme starts at 12.55pm and ends at 4.25pm.