Randox Ulster National Handicap Chase Analysis
15:10 at Downpatrick Racecourse on 22nd March
The 2020 Randox Ulster National Handicap Chase takes place on soft-heavy ground over 3 miles 4 furlongs and 120 yards, so it’s probably a good idea to looks for horses that handle the underfoot conditions and have an abundance of stamina.
Ifyoucatchmeknow proved both by winning the Boylesports Grand National Trial Handicap Chase over at Punchestown last time. The problem he only got up in the dying strides that day with just 9-9 on his back, and the handicapper has made his life much more difficult today.
Gordon Elliott saddles six runners in a bid to win the race for the third time in six years and Cheb De Kerviniou will be popular after putting together several consistent runs of late. However, Elliott has a couple of potentially better handicapped horses if they put their best foot forward.
Poormans Hill is three from three at Downpatrick, including winning the 2018 edition of this race on soft ground as the 11/4 (3.75) favourite. He returns off a 6lb higher mark this year, though that is offset by his jockey’s 7lb claim. The problem is Poormans Hill returns after 284 days off the track and it’s hard to know what form he’ll be in.
General Principle is an even better handicapped horse for Gordon Elliott, as he won the 2018 Grand National off an 8lb higher mark, whilst his jockey claims another 5lb off his back. He was only fourth behind Ifyoucatchmenow last time but has a 16lb pull in the weights for 18-lengths. Connections also possibly need him to win this to go up enough in the weights to get a run in the Irish Grand National, so he has the look of a solid each-way bet.