Rocky Creek the tentative tip in woeful renewal of Denman Chase

Saturday 13th February, 2016 - 2:25pm Newbury - Betfair Denman Chase

Newbury label this weekend's Betfair Super Saturday card as "one of the jump season's most anticipated racedays and a superb oppportunity to see some of racing's star performers". Well, they certainly couldn't have been looking at the Betfair Denman Chase declarations when compiling that over zealous description of their National Hunt card, as the seven runners lining up, for what should be a leading Cheltenham Gold Cup trial, will certainly not be featuring in that Cheltenham Festival showpiece next month.

  • Paul Nicholls has trained the winner eight times since 2000
  • Coneygree won this race en route to Gold Cup glory last season
  • All seven runners were unplaced on their last outing

A race won 12 months ago by Gold Cup hero Coneygree, this Grade 2 event has seen the likes of Kauto Star, Denman and Long Run all storm to glory at the Berkshire venue, but this year's renewal will certainly not whet the appetite of racegoers and they will be more focussing their eyes on the form guide for the Betfair Hurdle later in the day.

Rocky Creek Heads The Betting And Is One To Beat

Since the turn of the century Paul Nicholls has trained the winner of the Denman Chase, formerly known as the Aon Chase, eight times, and the Ditcheat handler will saddle the 13/8 favourite with Betfred here in the shape of Rocky Creek, who was last seen tackling Aintree's Grand National fences in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.

Pulled up that day, this ten-year-old was previously seen chasing home Don Cossack in the Grade 1 JNWine Champion Chase at Down Royal, and if he can recapture that sort of form then that should be good enough to land this disappointingly mediocre renewal this weekend.

He showed when second to Triolo D'alene in the 2013 Hennessy Gold Cup that he can perform well at the track, and with ground conditions likely to suit then he could well gain victory in a race that could be used as a springboard to the 2016 Grand National at the aforementioned Aintree.

Inconsistent Ballynagour Aims To Bounce Back

Ballynagour has not tasted success over fences since he bounded to victory in the 2014 Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival and last seen pulling up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, the David Pipe-trained runner has become an inconsistent performer, so at 9/4 with Sky Bet is not an eye-catching betting proposition.

He will be in receipt of 6lb from Rocky Creek, which will be a huge positive, but if Rocky Creek can produce his best then he could well have the better of his Pond House adversary, and Nicholls' danger could come in the shape of Houblon Des Obeaux, who is a 7/2 shot with Betfred bookmakers.

Fourth in the Classic Chase, Venetia Williams's nine-year-old was a gallant second in this corresponding race last season, and is another that has performed well earlier in his career in the Hennessy Gold Cup, but no win in other over two years is a major worry and he could be set for another minor role here.

Giant Aims To Bolster Cheltenham Dream

It's interesting that former Cheltenham Gold Cup placed horse The Giant Bolster has elected to line up here, as having slipped to an attractive handicap mark some may have argued his case for bagging a Cheltenham handicap chase place, but David Bridgwater has elected to unleash his stable star here, and he is 14/1 with bet365.

He ran well for a long way in the Hennessy earlier in the season, and has shown that he can deliver the goods on occasions, but he is often found it tough to find his best, so is one to avoid, as is Bob Ford, who is 16/1 with Betfred, and is another plagued with inconsistency and it's hard to trust him at all.

Splash Of Ginge (16/1) and Midnight Appeal (66/1) complete the septet and both should way below this level, so while this race is only a Grade 2 in name, it maybe worth sticking with Paul Nicholls, who has a fine record in the race, and the tentative selection goes the way of the jolly.

Saturday 13th February - 2.25pm OddsWon/LostBet
Betfair Denman Chase    
Tips Rocky Creek to win    Best Bet @ 13 / 8  

2016 Betfair Denman Chase Odds

Posted: Friday, 12th February 2016
Author: Steve Chambo

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