Denman Chase Tips: Royale Pagaille to enhance Gold Cup claims with Newbury win

Royal Pagaille Haydock

A field of five are set to go to post for the Grade 2 Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday afternoon, and there could be some notable Cheltenham Festival clues on offer. Our man Steve Chambers previews the 2m 7f 86y contest here and gives his best bet for the race...

With a staggering ten wins in this contest, Paul Nicholls will bid for an unprecedented 11th success this weekend, and the master of Ditcheat will saddle the current warm favourite Clan Des Obeaux, who was victorious in this race back in 2019, and is duly bidding to land another notable Graded success. The ten-year-old has been a real model of consistency at the highest level over the last few years, and with Nicholls not giving him an entry for next month's Cheltenham Gold Cup then the veteran will be readily tuned up for this event.

Last seen finishing a distant nine-length second in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, Clan Des Obeaux will look to kick on from that effort, but he was beaten in this event last season by stablemate Secret Investor, and it could be the case that he's not the force of old. Most of the leading principals in the King George failed to fire, and while he ran a solid race, he has often come unstuck when taking on the best away from Kempton, so he could be worth taking on at skinny odds.

The Nicholls yard have been struggling of late and will be hoping to recapture some form at the weekend with Brown Advisory hope Bravemansgame also lining up on the card, but Clan Des Obeaux maybe a vulnerable favourite in this event, and he could have to settle for the minor honours once again.

Cheltenham Festival 2022

The Cheltenham Gold Cup picture is extremely fuzzy at the moment with some of the leading contenders fluffing their lines, so there's a space for a springer in the betting to show their hand and that could well be ROYALE PAGAILLE, who is second favourite for the Denman Chase this weekend. Last seen carrying top weight to victory in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock Park, the Venetia Williams-trained raider was instantly cut to a 22/1 shot for the Gold Cup in March, and if he can claim victory here then his price will only shorten.

Still only eight, the Blue Bresil gelding is very lightly-raced and has shown to be a real class act on his day, and he could arguably have more improvement to come. A disappointing sixth in the Gold Cup last season, he showed at Haydock that the fire still burns bright, and if he can bring his A game at the weekend then he can bound to victory. One slight concern is the trip, as staying certainly seems to be his forte and with this race just shy of three miles then he may get tapped for toe as they turn for home, but hopefully his stamina and class can bring him through.

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A former Cheltenham Festival winner, Kim Bailey's Imperial Aura has struggled at times to kick on from that success in the now discontinued novices' handicap chase, but if he can show the form that saw him land the 1965 Chase at Ascot back in 2020 then he has to be a real player. A faller in the Betfair Chase at Haydock during his comeback run, he was then unable to land a blow when pulling up in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree. Eased to 66/1 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting, Bailey's charge will need to unearth some of his old performances to play a part, and against two relatively consistent performers in Clan Des Obeaux and Royale Pagaille then he may struggle.

Currently a 33/1 shot for the Ryanair Chase, Colin Tizzard's Eldorado Allen steps up beyond two-and-a-half miles for the first time in the Denman Chase, and it will be fascinating to see how the grey performs. A winner of the Haldon Gold Cup at the start of the season, he was last seen finishing second to Mister Fisher in the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton. A three-times winner over fences, Tizzard's charge has shaped like the step up in distance shouldn't be a problem, but he may just lack that class element of the more fancied runners and he can come up short.

Completing the quintet is former Ladbrokes Trophy winner De Rasher Counter, who hasn't been seen on a racecourse since October 2020, when he was beaten over hurdles at Newton Abbot, and Emma Lavelle's raider is going to face huge task to try and down some race-fit rivals, and it's unlikely he can play any sort of starring role at the weekend.

2022 Denman Chase
Royale Pagaille silk

Royale Pagaille

Cheltenham Gold Cup Runners
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