Cheltenham Festival scorer Mister Whitaker is among 37 excellent entries, revealed today, for the Listed Sky Bet Chase (3.15pm) at Doncaster on Saturday, January 26.
The prestigious three-mile handicap, with record prize money of £100,000 in 2019, headlines a quality seven-race programme which also has three G2 contests and the Sky Bet Extra Place Races Handicap Chase (3.50pm).
Mister Whitaker, trained by Mick Channon in West Ilsley, Berkshire, improved dramatically over fences last season and ended the campaign with a thrilling head victory in the Listed Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The seven-year-old has run twice so far this season, following up his decisive victory in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle on November 4 with a creditable fourth in the competitive BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham 13 days later.
Mister Whitaker, who has yet to race beyond two miles and five furlongs and is entered at Kempton Park this weekend, is the 10/1 joint-favourite with Sky Bet alongside Ladbrokes Trophy third Dingo Dollar, whose trainer Alan King captured back-to-back renewals of the Sky Bet Chase with Ziga Boy (2016 & 2017).
Last year's winner Wakanda (16/1 with Sky Bet), trained by Sue Smith in West Yorkshire, has the chance to emulate Ziga Boy, who is the only multiple winner of the Sky Bet Chase.
Somerset handler Paul Nicholls has six entries to choose from, the most of any trainer, as he chases a third Sky Bet Chase victory. The Nicholls sextet is headed by lightly-raced nine-year-old Give Me A Copper (14/1), who has not been seen out since capturing a novices' chase in November, 2017 and is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and TV presenter Jeremy Kyle, recent Kempton Park scorer Adrien Du Pont (16/1) and last year's runner-up Warrriors Tale (16/1).
Nicky Henderson and Nigel Twiston-Davies are both represented in the 2019 Sky Bet Chase. Henderson, whose stables are north of Lambourn, has entered Gold Present (14/1) and recent course and distance scorer O O Seven (14/1), while Gloucestershire-based Twiston-Davies' three entries include Go Conquer (16/1) and Ballykan (20/1).
Brian Boranha (20/1) had his the Sky Bet Chase bid decided following a nine-length victory in the Durham National over three miles and five furlongs at Sedgefield in October.
The progressive eight-year-old also has form over shorter trips, having won a three-mile handicap chase at Southwell in May.
Malton trainer Peter Niven, who won the Sky Bet Chase as a jockey on Dalkey Sound (1991) and Carbisdale (1994), revealed: "Brian Boranha is grand.
"He is a better ground horse so I have been saving him for a race like the Sky Bet Chase - it is a race I loved when I was riding.
"Brian Boranha is a nice type of horse and hopefully he is up to this sort of grade.
"He won over further last time, but I don't think the drop back in trip will be a problem at a track like Doncaster. They generally go a nice gallop and it tends to sort them out up the straight, which will suit him.
"His long-term target is the Scottish Grand National and if he could run well in the Sky Bet Chase beforehand, I would be delighted."
Willie Boy (20/1) has been entered following an impressive 11-length victory in a handicap chase over just shy of two and a half miles at Wetherby on December 26.
His handler Charlie Longsdon, based in Gloucestershire, said: "I was delighted with Willie Boy's win at Wetherby on Boxing Day.
"Everything suggests that he should be able to get three miles as he is a big, galloping sort.
"All being well, the Sky Bet Chase is where we would like to go with him."
Other notable entries include likely top-weight Minella Rocco (Jonjo O'Neill, 16/1), who was runner-up behind Sizing John in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and BetVictor Gold Cup third Guitar Pete (Nicky Richards, 16/1).
Weights for the Sky Bet Chase will be revealed on Wednesday, January 16.
Sky Bet Chase - Sky Bet prices:
10/1 Dingo Dollar, Mister Whitaker;
14/1 Give Me A Copper, Gold Present, O O Seven;
16/1 Adrien du Pont, Barney Dwan, Favorito Buck's, Go Conquer, Guitar Pete, Minella Rocco, Mount Mews, Rene's Girl, Singlefarmpayment, Sizing Codelco, Wakanda, Warriors Tale;
20/1 Ballykan, Brian Boranha, Calipto, Glen Rocco, No Hassle Hoff, Touch Kick, Willie Boy;
25/1 Art Mauresque, Buywise, Calett Mad, Carole's Destrier, Casse Tete, Federici, Impulsive Star, Monbeg River, On Tour, Pobbles Bay, Shanroe Santos;
33/1 Kansas City Chief;
50/1 Halo Moon
Russell Smith, Executive Director of Doncaster Racecourse, declared: "We have increased the prize fund of our feature jump race, the Sky Bet Chase, by £20,000.
"This is a significant investment that demonstrates our commitment to the race. The Sky Bet Chase is now as valuable as any other Jump race in Yorkshire with a total prize of £100,000."
Michael Shinners of Sky Bet said: "The Sky Bet Chase is the oldest race in Sky Bet's sponsorship portfolio, with Sky Bet first supporting it in 2003.
"The race carries record prize money this year of £100,000, up from £80,000 in 2018, and we have been rewarded with 37 excellent entries.
"Promising second-season chasers Mister Whitaker and Dingo Dollar top Sky Bet's market at 10/1 in what looks a wide-open race."
Doncaster also races on Friday, January 25 and Sky Bet supports all seven races including the £30,000 Sky Bet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase (1.55pm) over an extended two miles and the £20,000 Listed Sky Bet Top Price Promise Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle (2.30pm) over a similar trip.
The Sky Bet Chase
Listed handicap chase, £100,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.15pm, Doncaster, Saturday, January 26. For five-year-olds and upwards, three miles (2m 7f 214yds). Penalties: after January 13, a winner of a chase 5lb. Entries closed January 8, entries revealed January 9 (37 entries), weights revealed January 16. Five-day confirmation stage January 21, final declaration stage 10.00am, January 24. Maximum field 20 runners plus 2 reserves.
|Adrien Du Point (FR)||7||Mrs Johnny de la Hey||Paul Nicholls|
|Art Mauresque (FR)||9||Mrs Johnny de la Hey||Paul Nicholls|
|Ballykan||9||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|Barney Dwan (IRE)||9||Paul & Clare Rooney||Fergal O'Brien|
|Brian Boranha (IRE)||8||Kate Young||Peter Niven|
|Buywise (IRE)||12||T Hywel Jones||Evan Williams|
|Callet Mad (FR)||7||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|Calipto (FR)||9||Lady Bolton||Venetia Williams|
|Carole's Destrier||11||Mrs C Skipworth||Neil Mulholland|
|Casse Tete (FR)||7||John Stone||Gary Moore|
|Dingo Dollar (IRE)||7||M Warren J Holmes R Kidner & J Wright||Alan King|
|Favourito Buck's (FR)||7||Mrs Johnny de la Hey||Paul Nicholls|
|Federici||10||M Four Properties Ltd||Donald McCain|
|Give Me A Copper (IRE)||9||Done, Ferguson, Kyle, Mason & Wood||Paul Nicholls|
|Glen Rocco||8||J Kyle, G Mason, D Stevens||Nick Gifford|
|Go Conquer (IRE)||10||Paul & Clare Rooney||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|Gold Present (IRE)||9||John & Barbara Cotton||Nicky Henderson|
|Guitar Pete (IRE)||9||Mrs Pat Sloan||Nicky Richards|
|Halo Moon||11||Level Par Racing||Neil Mulholland|
|Impulsive Star (IRE)||9||Robert Waley-Cohen & Men Holding||Neil Mulholland|
|Kansas City Chief (IRE)||10||Anthony Bloom||Neil Mulholland|
|Minella Rocco (IRE)||9||John P McManus||Jonjo O'Neill|
|Mister Whitaker (IRE)||7||T P Radford||Mick Channon|
|Monbeg River (IRE)||10||Bill Hazeldean & V Vyner-Brookes||Martin Todhunter|
|Mount Mews (IRE)||8||Trevor Hemmings||Donald McCain|
|No Hassle Hoff (IRE)||7||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||Dan Skelton|
|O O Seven (IRE)||9||Christopher Hanbury||Nicky Henderson|
|On Tour (IRE)||11||T Hywel Jones||Evan Williams|
|Pobbles Bay (IRE)||9||David M Williams||Evan Williams|
|Rene's Girl (IRE)||9||Andy & Sharon Measham||Dan Skelton|
|Shanroe Santos (IRE)||10||James Summers||Lucy Wadham|
|Singlefarmpayment||9||N T Griffith & H M Haddock||Tom George|
|Sizing Codelco (IRE)||10||Ann & Alan Potts Limited||Colin Tizzard|
|Touch Kick (IRE)||8||Trevor Hemmings||Paul Nicholls|
|Wakanda (IRE)||10||Mrs M B Scholey||Sue Smith|
|Warriors Tale||10||Trevor Hemmings||Paul Nicholls|
|Willie Boy (IRE)||8||Kate & Andrew Brooks||Charlie Longsdon|