One of the biggest meetings of the week will take place at Doncaster on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 January, and the feature race there is the Sky Bet Chase (formerly known as The Great Yorkshire Chase). In addition, Thysestes Race Day will take place at Gowran Park in Ireland on Thursday 26 January, and the big race there will be the Thyestes Handicap Chase.
- The Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase is scheduled to get underway at 15:00 on Thursday 26 January, and the clear favourite with bookmakers at the time of writing is The Crafty Butcher. This ten-year-old gelding has only won four of his 38 races overall, but he has won over the course here and placed second and third in his last two outings, so perhaps he will prove more successful on Thursday. Prince of Scars has won four races from 11 runs, but hasn’t won since December 2015. Measuremydreams has a winning strike rate of 35.71%, as does Rogue Trader, but the latter has won two of his last four races.
- The Sky Bet Handicap Chase will take place at 15:40 on Saturday 28 January and bookmakers appear to be having some difficulty in identifying a clear favourite. Bigbadjohn is a distance winner with three race wins from eight runs, and the gelding most recently finished second to the very smart Thistlecrack in the Worcester Novices’ Chase on Boxing Day. Regal Encore is a last-time out winner with an overall winning strike rate of 25%, Saphir Du Rheu has won eight races from 23 outings, but the latest was back in November 2015. Coologue has notched up three wins from 14 races, and most recently finished second in the Stan Conway Memorial Graduation Chase in December.
Both of the races highlighted here are extremely competitive affairs. Whilst The Crafty Butcher is favourite for the Thyestes Handicap Chase on Thursday, we are more taken with Rogue Trader’s two wins from his last four races, and we would prefer to side with him as an each way option.
The Sky Bet Handicap Chase is even more wide open, but Bigbadjohn would look to be as good a favourite as any, with a winning strike rate of 37.5% and previous success over this distance. That said, there are too many questions for us in this field, and we will therefore side with Rogue Trader as an each-way bet for the Thyestes Handicap Chase.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Rogue Trader Each-Way in the Thyestes Handicap Chase – 10/1
*Please note that odds will fluctuate as the race approaches.