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32Red Veterans’ Chase Preview – Saturday 6th January

Last updated: January 4, 2018 by Leon Marshal

The Veterans Chase series was introduced in 2015 to provide opportunities for the popular older chasers to compete for good prize money.

There are ten qualifying races in all, each with a minimum prize fund of £30,000. The series culminates in the final at Sandown Park on Saturday 6th January.

Three horses running at Sandown Park

Longsdon aims for repeat win at Sandown

Trainer Charlie Longsdon saddles the first and third last year with Pete The Feat and Loose Chips. Both horses are reportedly in great form as they return for another crack at the prize where they will be opposed by Theatrical Star and Gas Line Boy; second and fourth respectively.

Pete The Feat will be the oldest runner in the race this year at the age of fourteen. He has won ten of his forty races over fences including here last time out in December. He beat Hedgeinator by two and three-quarter lengths off a handicap rating of 127. He has gone up 3lbs for that success so will be 6lbs higher than a year ago.

Twelve-year-old Loose Chips has won six of his thirty starts over the larger obstacles. He won a qualifier for this series in 2016 and plugged on into third last year off a mark of 139. Loose Chips is only 1lb higher on Saturday.

Gas Line Boy favourite for Veterans’ Chase

Although only fourth last year, the Ian Williams-trained Gas Line Boy is favourite this weekend. The reason for that is his comfortable victory in testing ground in Aintree’s Grand Sefton Chase last month.

Gas Line Boy was a highly creditable fifth in the Grand National at the same course in April. He looked set to win when falling at the same track in October but gained a well-deserved success last time. He did make a mistake at the fourth last but was always travelling comfortably behind the leaders and kicked clear to beat Ultragold. He was beaten off a mark of 145 last season but looks better than ever and can still be competitive off 148.

Thirteen-year-old Benbens showed himself to be in top form by winning the valuable London National here in December. His neck victory over Sugar Baron followed a decent run at Cheltenham when fourth to Perfect Candidate. He was receiving almost a stone from that rival and was beaten nearly 20 lengths. He will be only 5lbs better off on Saturday.

A clear day for horses running at Sandown Park

Perfect Candidate set to carry top weight

Fergal O’Brien trains Perfect Candidate, an eleven-year-old gelding by Winged Love. He has won six of his 20 races over fences and is less exposed than most of his rivals. Perfect Candidate was good value for his neck victory over Vicente at Cheltenham in November and has gone up 4lbs.

Theatrical Star was nearly three lengths behind Pete The Feat at Sandown in December. He lost his place before rallying in the closing stages and should go well for Colin Tizzard. Stable companion Third Intention was beaten half a length by Houblon Des Obeaux at Sandown last time. He is 3lbs better off with the Venetia Williams-trained gelding. Houblon Des Obeaux was only sixth next time behind Benbens. Double Ross has failed to complete in his last two starts for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The twelve-year-old unseated his rider here in November and was pulled up in the £142,000 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.

The pick of the remainder could be Buywise, trained by Evan Williams. He has reserved his best form for Cheltenham in the past and has been disappointing so far this season. His best effort last season was when third in the BetVictor Gold Cup. He also finished a fair fourth to Un Temps Pour Tout at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

32Red Veterans’ Chase Betting Tips

Gas Line Boy @5-1 Betfred

The 32Red Veterans’ Chase Final is due off at 3.00 at Sandown Park on Saturday 6th January and will be televised live on ITV4.