Unibet Veterans’ Chase Series Final Odds and Preview – Horse Racing Betting January 4

Will Saturday be a red letter day for Vieux Lion Rouge?

Horse Racing Betting

The Unibet Veterans’ Chase series is a terrific incentive for older chasers. It gives them the opportunity to keep on earning their keep by running against contemporaries and also lets National Hunt supporters to keep following old favourites. Many of these old boys just love to race so retirement to a paddock isn’t really an exciting option and, of course, places still have to be found for them to live out their twilight years in safety and comfort.

The series, worth £400,000 in total, was programmed by the BHA to generate opportunities for 10–year-old-plus chasers who may have found winning opportunities limited in other valuable races. Each of the 10 qualifying races have a minimum total prize fund of £30,000 with this Saturday’s final offering £100,000 in prize money. Any horse that takes part in one of the qualifying races is eligible to run in the Final, run over just over 3m at Sandown on the first weekend of the New Year.
Horse Racing Betting at Coral
The Veterans’ series hasn’t been going long enough to establish any strong trends but last year’s second and third are back for another try though, sadly, not the winner. Houblon Des Obeaux lost his life when suffering a heart attack in the subsequently-voided London Gold Cup at Sandown last month. This year’s Veterans’ Handicap Chase Final has been dedicated to his memory.
Houblon Des Obeaux’ trainer Venetia Williams has entered Burton Well and will be hoping that the 11-year-old can honour the memory of his popular former stablemate. He won the Aintree qualifier in October when Theatre Guide and On Tour, second and third in last year’s final, were third and fifth respectively. He was never travelling at Haydock next time, however, which is why he’s a best 10/1 with Coral this weekend.
King’s Odyssey (a best 11/2) beat Smooth Stepper (10/1 with Coral) at Warwick but the runner-up is now 2lb better off. Regal Flow wasn’t far behind either and looks overpriced at 25/1 with Coral, though is on a long losing run. However, it’s difficult to see either Wild West Wind or Theatre Guide reversing the form at the revised terms.
Jepeck has been hurdling to protect his handicap mark and won twice. Anthony Honeyball’s runner is the general 4/1 favourite but still 5lb higher than when beaten on his last run over fences in March of last year.
Horatio Hornblower is 2-2 this season but doesn’t look up to this level and is only a best 10/1.
VIEUX LION ROUGE surely has to represent some value at a best 16/1.
He has run in a Listed handicap hurdle at Cheltenham and the Grade 3 Becher Chase at Aintree since rallying to get the better of On Tour at Chepstow on his reappearance. He’s only a pound higher and still potentially well treated on his form of last season. A relative newcomer to the veteran’s circuit, he still looks to be near the height of his powers which is more than you can say about a few of his 13 rivals.

Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase Final Current Best Odds

Jepeck 4/1, King’s Odyssey 11/2, Dark Flame 7/1, Smooth Stepper, Burtons Well and Horatio Hornblower 10/1, Shanroe Santos 12/1, Wild West Wind and On Tour 14/1, Vieux Lion Rouge  and Carole’s Destrier 16/1, Theatre Guide 20/1, Regal Flow 25/1,  Abolitionist 33/1
(Odds correct at 5.30pm January 2)

Vieux Lion Rouge – Unibet Veterans’ Chase