It's tight on their ratings but Timeform expect Politogue to come out on top in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Clarence House Chase.
Waiting Patiently, Defi du Seuil and Politologue have all shown form over fences deemed to be top-class by Timeform. There's very little to separate the trio on the pick of their efforts but Politologue narrowly heads the ratings based on his wide-margin wins in the Champion Chase and Tingle Creek. They were by no means vintage editions but Politologue still impressed with how he sealed the deal, jumping well, travelling powerfully and finding plenty on both occasions. He may be a ten-year-old but his last two performances suggest he is better than ever, and this straightforward, likeable type looks to have plenty in his favour. Harry Cobden, who takes over from Harry Skelton, has already won a Grade 1 on the grey - the 2017 Tingle Creek Chase.
Fanion d'Estruval, the youngest horse in the race at just six years old, is the only horse in the line-up with the Timeform 'p' attached to his rating, a symbol that denotes he remains open to improvement. Fanion d'Estruval will need to improve to make a big impact – he is rated 15 lb below the standard-setting Politologue – but it's possible that he'd be arriving here with a much punchier rating had he completed in the Peterborough Chase at Cheltenham last time as he was moving ominously well before coming down at the tricky third-last. He had previously shaped well when runner-up in handicap company at the same course, and the strength with which he travels offers hope that there's more to come from this young chaser after only four starts for Venetia Williams.
First Flow (Horses For Courses)
First Flow has a fair bit on his plate, stepping markedly up in grade after scrambling home in the Castleford Handicap Chase at Wetherby last time, but one factor in his favour is that he won over this course and distance on his penultimate start. That handicap success was a career-best effort from First Flow, who had also run well when placed on his two previous outings at this venue. He made it five wins in a row when gamely scoring at Wetherby last time, and a stiff test at this trip should him well. He needs to raise his game, though.
There's not much to split Defi du Seuil, Waiting Patiently and Politologue in terms of ability, but the Champion Chase winner arrives here operating at the peak of his powers and faces optimum conditions, so he is very much the one to beat. King George runner-up Waiting Patiently takes a marked drop in trip but is a versatile sort - he was third in last season's Tingle Creek - and could offer the greatest threat.
Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings:
182 Defi du Seuil
181 Waiting Patiently
173 Duc des Genievres
169 First Flow
168p Fanion d'Estruval