The JLT Novices’ Chase (Thursday 15 March) is a 2 Miles 4 Furlongs Novices’ Chase which takes place at the Cheltenham Festival. It is run on the third day, when it is one of the highlights along with the Stayers’ Hurdle and Ryanair Chase. The race is one of the latest additions to the Cheltenham Festival, and was only added to the program in 2011.
Five winners have been aged 7, two have been aged 6
Willie Mullins has trained 4 winners
Ruby Walsh has ridden 3 winners
Irish-trained horse have won 6 of the 7 renewals
SP’s have ranged from 6/4 to 20/1
Winners have been rated between 146 and 155
Backed into favouritism after winning the Dipper Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and, after a few pre-race sessions with jumping-guru Yogi Breisner, he jumped much better than on his previous three starts over fences. A high-class hurdler, he could yet match those heights over fences, but has the option of running in the RSA Chase over 3-miles.
Won his first two chases, and not disgraced when third in the Dipper Chase as he was conceding Yanworth 5lb. He was also ridden differently than usual there, with his jockey opting to hold him up rather than let him adopt his usual bold front-running style. Won a novice hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival over a similar trip, and could make them all go once again with a return to front-running tactics.
Prominent in the market for the JLT Chase and, though this Willie Mullins trained horse would have every chance if turning-up, he is a much shorter-price for the Arkle. Likely to take up the shorter option after impressing over 2-miles so far in his novice chase campaign.
5 out of 5 over this sort of trip over hurdles and fences, and trainer Gordon Elliott holds him in the highest-regard. Disappointed over 3-miles at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, and Elliott has since said that was too far for him. Beaten last-time when tried over 2-miles, but that was against the high-class Footpad, and this looks an obvious race for him.
Already rated as high as any previous winner, but fencing technique continues to leave a bit to be desired. His table haven’t been in as good a form as last year though, and he may be more the finished article come the Cheltenham Festival.
Al Boum Photo
Trained by Willie Mullins, and looked likely to be suited by this sort of trip when not seeming to stay 3-miles at the Punchestown Festival over hurdles. Would have won on his last start over fences over 19-furlongs, but for falling at the last, and Willie Mullins has a knack of peaking them for the Festival.
Ran a cracking race to be sixth in last year’s Coral Cup when carrying top-weight and, though he’s yet to be tested against top-class opposition over fences, his hurdles-rating would give him every chance of being competitive. Interesting contender.
The 2018 JLT Novices’ Chase has the potential to be a high-class renewal, and England have some worthy contenders in the shape of Yanworth, Willoughby Court, Finian’s Oscar and Modus. However, as Ireland have such as great record in the race, Willie Mullins in particular, it could be time for an ante-post bet on Al Boum Photo.
2018 JLT Novices’ Chase Tip: Al Boum Photo @ 20/1 BetVictor