Daryl Jacob expects the roof to be ‘properly lifted’ at Haydock Park if popular grey Bristol de Mai secures a record-equalling fourth win in the Betfair Chase on Saturday (November 19th), but the jockey concedes defeating reigning champion A Plus Tard will be a difficult task.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained 11 year old will attempt to join the mighty Kauto Star in becoming just the second four-time winner of Britain’s first Grade One chase of the season having previously claimed victory in 2017, 2018 and 2020. He is currently a 5-1 chance with race sponsor Betfair.
Although Jacob has tasted success in many of the biggest races in Jump racing, he admits that should Bristol de Mai secure another victory in the extended three miles and a furlong feature that it would be ‘right up there’ with his best achievements in the saddle.
Jacob said: “He is just the most honest horse and I’m lucky to have a great association with him.
“His record at Haydock is second to none. I don’t think there is a horse at Haydock that has ever run around there that has the form he has. His form is very strong. It is like a home game for him. The ground is coming in his favour.
“The great thing about Bristol is he has been there done it and worn the T-shirt. He is a very good horse. I think Protektorat has to prove it a little bit, but I fear all those horses as they are all Grade One horses and they deserve to be there.
“A Plus Tard’s form is there and it is absolutely rock solid. He is a very good horse. I don’t know whether we can beat him or not but we are going to put in a much different performance this year to what we did last year. He is a younger horse and his CV says it all that he is a very good horse.
“It will be difficult to beat him but every horse can have an off day and if A Plus Tard does have an off day, I can guarantee we will be there to capitalise on it.
“The great thing with my lad is that he is tried and tested. He is a warrior. Every time he goes to a race track he gives you everything.
“It would be right up there to win four Betfair Chases. It would be astonishing. We will keep dreaming. We believe we are going there with a great chance.
“I’d love to see it as the crowd at Haydock have really warmed to Bristol. He gets such a huge reception even walking around the parade ring before the race.
“It really does bring a tear to your eye. If he did manage to do it I think it would properly lift the roof of Haydock racecourse.”
Although Bristol de Mai pulled up behind subsequent Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard on his fifth appearance in the race 12 months ago Jacob believes a line can be put through that effort and is confident of a different outcome on Saturday.
Jacob continued: “The Betfair Chase last year was a disaster as the ground was too quick, but this year hopefully with the rain they have had over the last 24 to 48 hours, and there is more rain coming up there, I’m very much looking forward to it. I am genuinely really excited.
“Last year was a write-off from the moment I walked out on to the track. He never got into a rhythm. When it is that quick ground he doesn’t enjoy it. I just wanted to look after the horse because he has been a wonderful horse to us and he owes us nothing.
“Since then he has come out he has probably run nearly two of his career bests in the conditions chase at Lingfield and in the Grand National Trial at Haydock Park giving all that weight away.
“He has had a brilliant pre-season so far. He has been very good and enthusiastic. His schooling has been very good. His work has been extremely good and he has all the enthusiasm he had last season.
“He is always a horse that is very good when fresh. He is a horse that always gives maximum effort and that takes a bit of time to get over it. He just a very good horse when he is fresh and well.”
Since joining forces with leading owners Simon Munir and Isaac Soude in 2014, the 39 year old Jacob has struck up some notable associations with the likes of Sceau Royal, Top Notch and L’Ami Serge, but it is clear where Bristol de Mai ranks among them all in his mind.
He concluded: “Bristol has got such a huge following. Horses like him are special horses. He is 11 turning 12 and he won a Grade One as a three year old (the 2014 Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow), so he has been around an awful long time. He throws his heart and soul into every race he puts himself into.
“I love the longevity and the honesty these horses give you. I love it even at the age that they are they want to give you 100 per cent everything you have got.
“I’ve managed to win 15 races on Sceau Royal which is the winning-most horse I’ve ever won on and that is an incredible achievement for any of them horses.
“Bristol de Mai’s CV is there for everyone to see. He is up there with one of the all-time great horses that I have ridden.”
The going at Haydock Park is currently:
Chase Course: Good to Soft, Soft in places
Hurdle Couse: Good to Soft
There was 16mm of rain on Tuesday. Today is forecast to be dry with further rain expected tomorrow and on Friday – around a further 10mm in total is predicted. Saturday is forecast to be dry.
Betfair Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f 125y
Haydock Park – Saturday 19th November
- A Plus Tard (FR) 8 11 10 Cheveley Park Stud Henry de Bromhead Ireland
- Bristol de Mai (FR) 11 11 10 Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Nigel Twiston-Davies
- Eldorado Allen (FR) 8 11 10 J P Romans & Terry Warner Joe Tizzard
- Frodon (FR) 10 11 10 Mr P. J. Vogt Paul Nicholls Bryony Frost
- Protektorat (FR) 7 11 10 Sir A Ferguson G Mason J Hales & L Hales Dan Skelton Harry Skelton
Latest odds from sponsor Betfair: 8-15 A Plus Tard; 9-4 Protektorat; 5-1 Bristol de Mai; 12-1 Eldorado Allen; 16-1 Frodon