25 January 2019
A field of 11 is set to go to post in tomorrow's Listed Sky Bet Chase (3.15pm) at Doncaster, following the final declaration stage
The three-mile handicap chase is Sky Bet's longest-running sponsorship, with the Leeds-based company first providing support back in 2003.
Heading the betting market at 11/4 is the lightly-raced Dingo Dollar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson, 11st 7lb), a course and distance winner in February, 2018, and last seen when third in the valuable G3 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on December 1.
Trainer Alan King is chasing a third Sky Bet Chase, having previously triumphed with dual winner Ziga Boy in 2016 and 2017.
The 10-time champion jump trainer Paul Nicholls has also won the Sky Bet Chase twice, with Colourful Life (2005) and Big Fella Thanks (2009). His two runners tomorrow are at the top of the handicap - last year's runner-up and top-weight Warriors Tale (Sean Bowen, 11st 12lb, 6/1) and Art Mauresque (Harry Cobden, 11st 11lb, 8/1).
Warriors Tale was last seen when winning the Grand Sefton Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on December 8, while Art Mauresque put up his best effort this season when runner-up in the G3 Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot in November.
Somerset-based Nicholls said: "Warriors Tale is in good form and was beaten a head in this race last year.
"He will have to run off a career-high rating and better ground does suit him - we are looking forward to seeing how he goes.
"Warriors Tale won the Grand Sefton nicely last time and hopefully there is more to come.
"Art Mauresque is another horse who appreciates better ground.
"He also seems to be in good form. He can sometimes be inconsistent and throw in the odd disappointing effort.
"The Sky Bet Chase has cut up slightly due to the ground, but that will suit both of our horses and hopefully they run well on Saturday."
Reigning champion jump trainer Nicky Henderson has yet to win the Sky Bet Chase and tomorrow relies on O O Seven (Nico de Boinville, 11st 11lb, 5/1).
The nine-year-old recorded a course and distance last time out when he defeating the re-opposing Go Conquer (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Tom Bellamy, 11st 10lb, 7/1) by half a length in a handicap chase on December 15.
Other contenders coming into tomorrow's Sky Bet Chase on the back of a win include Willie Boy (Charlie Longsdon/Gavin Sheehan, 11st 4lb, 10/1), who steps up to three miles, having scored over an extended two miles and three furlongs at Wetherby on Boxing Day.
Calipto (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch, 11st 2lb, 12/1) also moves up in trip after winning over two and a half miles at Wincanton on January 5, while Brian Boranha (Peter Niven/Henry Brooke, 10st 12lb, 20/1) drops down in distance, following his victory in the Durham National over three miles and five furlongs at Sedgefield on his latest appearance in October.
On Tour (Evan Williams/Mitch Bastyan (5), 10st 6lb, 14/1) has not entered the winner's enclosure since taking a two and a half-mile handicap chase at Aintree in November, 2017, but showed distinct signs of a return to his best at Sandown Park last time, when third in the valuable Veterans' Handicap Chase Final on January 5.
Vale of Glamorgan-based Williams reported about the 11-year-old chaser: "On Tour ran a great race at Sandown and has come out of it fresh and well.
"I think the better ground at Doncaster tomorrow will suit him. He is usually a horse who runs his best races in the spring and autumn when the ground is fast.
"A good, fast pace on a galloping track will be good. He will probably get a bit outpaced, but he has a featherweight and will hopefully be staying on at the finish."
Completing tomorrow's field are Federici (Donald McCain/Brian Hughes, 10st 3lb, 14/1), fifth over the Grand National fences last time out in the Becher Chase at Aintree on December 8, and Monbeg River (Martin Todhunter/Sean Quinlan, 10st 6lb, 20/1).
Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, said: "The Sky Bet Chase is always a great spectacle and we are proud to be supporting the races for the 17th year in 2019.
"While we may not have a huge field tomorrow, it certainly looks a very competitive contest.
"Dingo Dollar has been solid at the head of the market this week and this course and distance winner looks to have conditions in his favour tomorrow."
Sky Bet Chase, Sky Bet odds:
The going at Doncaster is currently Good.
Doncaster's seven-race programme starts at 12.55pm and ends at 4.25pm. For more information, or to buy tickets, please visit www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk.