Cheltenham 2018 : National Hunt Chase Preview
The National Hunt Chase (Tuesday 13 March @ Cheltenham 2018) provides horses with the biggest test of stamina at the Cheltenham Festival, as the race is run over 4 miles and 24 fences on the Old Course. However, it no longer carries the prestige it once did as, before the introduction of races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup, it was widely considered to be the second most important race in the National Hunt Calendar after the Grand National. It is currently limited to novice chasers and amateur jockeys.
Notable recent winners include the 2007 winner Butlers Cabin who went on to win the Irish Grand National, Cause of Causes who has won at the last three Cheltenham Festivals, and Minella Rocca who finished second in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Four 7-year-olds, three 8-year-olds, two 6-years-olds and one 9-year-old have won
Winners have been rated 127 to 152
SP’s of the winners have ranged from 9/4 to 16/1
Gordon Elliott has trained 3 of the last 7 winners
England-trained runners have won 6 of the last 10 renewals, and Ireland-trained runners 4
Absolutely cruised through the Pertemps Final Hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, defying a big-weight and a handicap mark of 146. Handicapper then gave him a real chance of 145 on his third start over fences, and he duly bolted-up by 11-lengths over 3-miles and 5-furlongs. Could easily be the highest-rated horse to take up this engagement in recent years, though his rating would also entitle him to maximum respect if he should take up an alternative engagement in the most prestigious RSA Chase.
Trained by Gordon Elliott, and was sent-off shorter in the market than Presenting Percy in last season’s Pertemps Final, before finishing third off a mark of 145. Since been progressive over hurdles, and last time’s staying on second behind stablemate Shattered Love suggests he should be capable of holding his own in a race of this nature providing he stays 4-miles.
Won 1 and finished second in his other 3 novice chases so far this season and, after looking slightly one-paced in each of those runs, he could relish stepping-up in trip to 4-miles. Worth remembering that trained Colin Tizzard also ran the top-class Native River in this race.
Another horse trained by Gordon Elliott, and this one has also been placed at a previous Cheltenham Festival, having finished second to Unowhatimeanharry in the 2016 Albert Bartlett. Not done as much as some of the others in the market yet, but run-style suggests he could thrive stepped-up to 4-miles.
Stayed on powerfully behind Yanworth in the Dipper Chase and, having previously looked best when winning over 25-furlongs at Cheltenham, it would be no surprise to see trainer Colin Tizzard send him for this rather than the RSA.
Presenting Percy has the class to turn this into a procession but, with connections having the RSA option, it may pay to side with a trainer who has targeted this race to great effect in recent seasons in Gordon Elliott. Fagan has possibilities, but it’s Jury Duty who has the better profile with his best form coming in big-fields, and he handles any ground.