Savills Chase betting tips: Bellshill well worth a wager at Leopardstown

Horsebetting.com experts give their 2018 Savills Chase betting tips for the feature 3m Grade 1 over fences and highlight of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown on Friday, 28 December. Bellshill has a superb record fresh, so looks a value bet to make a winning reappearance in this for Willie Mullins. Road To Respect won this 12 months ago and again looks the pick of Gigginstown’s five runners, so is feared most. Anibale Fly, meanwhile, is an interesting each-way contender who looks sure to come on for his last run. More details on this hugely important Irish race are below in our 2018 Savills Chase betting tips preview.

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Odds
6/1
Selection
Bellshill
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Odds
5/2
Danger
Road To Respect
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Odds
11/1
E/W
Anibale Fly
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Bellshill the Savills Chase bet

Eight year-olds have the best recent record in the Savills Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, so Bellshill looks well worth a wager to win this season’s festive showpiece on Friday (15:00). Trainer Willie Mullins has only won the 3m Grade 1 test once before, but in this Andrea and Graham Wylie owned son of King’s Theatre has a horse that goes superbly well fresh.

Bellshill has won first time up in each of the last four seasons and landed the Punchestown Gold Cup in really gutsy fashion on his last start. He is versatile tactics wise, but often seen to best effect when used as a hold-up performer and four from seven over fences.

Road To Respect held on Punchestown form

As Bellshill beat main market rival Road To Respect by 8 3/4 lengths at the Punchestown Festival in April and they meet again off level weights, there is simply no reason why he shouldn’t confirm the form. Prior to that, he was only beaten a length and passed the post in fourth in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse yet then relegated a place by the stewards for a jump that hampered many at the last.

Off top-weight, however, this was a massive effort and Bellshill also warmed up for that with an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Bobbyjo Chase over 3m 1f at the same venue. He clearly stays further and that is a huge plus in a race as competitive as this.

Bellshill has also won a staying hurdle over the trip on the forecast good to yielding ground, so he clearly acts on the surface fine. The same cannot be said for some of his 11 rivals though; so, at the odds on offer, he looks a value bet to give Mullins a second winner of this and heads our 2018 Savills Chase betting tips as a result.

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Road To Respect the clear danger

Just 1lb on official figures separate Bellshill and the aforementioned Road To Respect, who landed the spoils 12 months ago. Repeat bids in this race haven’t been successful since Beef or Salmon doubled up in 2004 and 2005, but the reigning champ tops the ratings and is feared most.

As one of five engaged here by powerful owners Gigginstown House Stud, the Noel Meade trained seven-year-old is six from 13 over fences and has made the frame on a further five occasions. Road To Respect was also a fine fourth and beaten just 12 1/2 lengths by Native River in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Last year’s winner

The son of Gamut made steady progress through the field in this race 12 months ago and challenged at the last, taking things up on the run-in to score by 1 1/4 lengths from the re-opposing Balko Des Flos. It’s worth remembering the runner-up came out and landed the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, although he hasn’t matched that form since.

Road To Respect does have a tendency to jump left, but that’s no problem at Leopardstown as the course is anti-clockwise. He also made a winning reappearance in the Grade 1 Down Royal Champion Chase over this distance last month when bolting up on this going by 16 lengths.

Meade’s stable is back among the winners with a couple on St Stephen’s Day and regular rider Sean Flanagan is again aboard. While Road To Respect commands obvious respect, he still has that Punchestown Festival form to reverse on Bellshill off the same terms and it’s for that reason we side with the latter in our 2018 Savills Chase betting tips.

Anibale Fly one to consider each-way

Plenty have claims of making the frame, but Anibale Fly won the Paddy Power Chase over course and distance at the meeting 12 months ago, so appeals each-way more than most. Trained by the very shrewd Tony Martin, this eight-year-old also looks sure to come on massively for his reappearance run over a trip that was way too sharp.

Anibale Fly may only have won three of his 13 chase starts, but that is far from the whole tale. After drawing clear to beat Ucello Conti by seven lengths in that valuable festive handicap mentioned above last year, he was still in touch when taking a heavy fall two out next time out in the Irish Gold Cup here.

He proved no worse for that tumble, however, when finishing third and best of the Irish raiders in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Anibale Fly was only 8 1/2 lengths behind Native River and four in front of Road To Respect, so on that form he looks overpriced in comparison to the favourite.

Step back up in trip sure to suit

Despite then being badly hampered at the first, the JP McManus owned gelding was a staying on 11 1/2 lengths fourth to Tiger Roll in the Grand National at Aintree on his final start of last season. Anibale Fly was only denied third by a neck and giving plenty of weight away to the first three home, so that was a huge effort.

Although beaten 23 1/2 lengths down in sixth in the Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase at Cork on his return to action last month, that 2m distance is nowhere near far enough for him. It looked like a pipe opener from connections and Anibale Fly will surely improve for a step back up into a stayers’ race.

At the odds on offer, he is thus a great each-way bet on Cheltenham and Aintree form. He’s also infinitely more reliable than McManus’ other runners – Coney Island and Edwulf. It’s Anibale Fly who thus completes our 2018 Savills Chase betting tips on an intriguing renewal.

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