4.50 Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Friday 13 March  |  Age: 5yo+  |  Prize: £110,000

The Grand Annual Chase is a Grade 3 race that takes place on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival.

IT’S back to the drawing board for me in this race after a couple that I liked at the initial declaration stage haven’t been declared for the race.

There are a few things that are key in this race including previous race form and the ability to race near the front. Horses trying to come from behind really struggle.

My first selection is fairly obvious but I just have to back GINO TRAIL. He was 2nd in the race two years ago and despite his advanced years he bounced back with a bang last time out at Doncaster.

This is his trip and if they allow him to jump freely near the front he will see off most of them.

My second selection is a much less exposed runner. ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU doesn’t have course and distance experience but he does look like he will be ideal for it.

Sean O’Keefe the jockey will need to make sure he gets him prominent but if he can do that the horse jumps nicely and is unexposed so could have tons in hand here at the weights. Gordon’s horses are running well so I would expect a big run.

5 places each way are widely available so make sure you get them.

Recommended bet

PALOMA BLUE (4.50) is worthy of each-way support in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge was taken out of his comfort zone when sixth in last year’s Arkle Trophy but will find this less daunting.

Paloma Blue was sent off 10-1 that day, so was quite well fancied, and he ran a cracker at Ascot before Christmas when third to Riders Onthestorm, finding 2m 5f too far. He warmed up for Cheltenham by finishing second of 15 at Leopardstown in February.

Paul Nicholls has placed Greaneteen shrewdly to land five of his last six starts and this progressive six-year-old can give favourite backers a good spin along with Gordon Elliott’s Chosen Mate.

Recommended bet

  • Paloma Blue 11-1 ew (Bet365)

I had a few horses I liked in this race, but I managed to shorten it down CHOSEN MATE whose recent win won me over.

He's only had three races over fences, but in his last race he looked like a natural and was flying over them at a quick pace, which was impressive for a novice to do such a thing.

The ground won't be an issue for him, whether its soft or on the good side of soft as he's won on heavy before, and he's won a PTP on good ground. He won last time out by 11 lengths, in front of a horse called Capuccimix.

That horse has since come out and won by 11 lengths, so the form is stacking up well. Gordon Elliott and Davy Russel are both in great form and you'd have to say this would've been a long term plan for this horse, especially after only having three races so he's only just got his handicap rating.

I did like the look of his stablemate Eclair De Beaufeu, but he didn't seem to get up the Cheltenham hill last year in the County Hurdle, where he was leading, but eventually fell after being fatigued. Lisp is another interesting runner, but, I think he's a little too short for me to consider him that strong of a contender.

Alan King's horses are struggling to find form at the moment, and that's a huge negative.

Recommended bet

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Distance: 2m 62y
Type: Chase
Class: 1
Track: Turf
No
Silks
Runner
Jockey/Trainer
7
Greaneteen
11-0111
J:H Cobden
T: P F Nicholls
ADD TO SLIP
4/1

10
Chosen Mate
P60341
J:
T: G Elliott
ADD TO SLIP
11/2

16
Lisp
85-4313
J:Tom Cannon
T: A King
ADD TO SLIP
13/2

8
Eclair De Beaufeu
6-21431
J:
T: G Elliott
ADD TO SLIP
15/2

4
Paloma Blue
16-6232
J:Aidan Coleman
T: H De Bromhead
ADD TO SLIP
12/1

14
Two Taffs
312/302
J:Harry Skelton
T: D Skelton
ADD TO SLIP
16/1

1
Great Field
1/FF-4UP
J:J S McGarvey
T: Jonjo O'Neill
ADD TO SLIP
18/1

3
Capeland
84-D145
J:Bryony Frost
T: P F Nicholls
ADD TO SLIP
20/1

9
Us And Them
2-U3788
J:J J Slevin
T: J P O'Brien
ADD TO SLIP
20/1

17
Jan Maat
921221
J:Rachael Blackmore
T: H De Bromhead
ADD TO SLIP
20/1

19
Theinval
1/936-FP
J:J McGrath
T: N J Henderson
ADD TO SLIP
25/1

18
Adrrastos
131331
J:G Sheehan
T: Jamie Snowden
ADD TO SLIP
25/1

2
Marracudja
3-85513
J:Bridget Andrews
T: D Skelton
ADD TO SLIP
33/1

11
Ballywood
214-U33
J:Thomas Bellamy
T: A King
ADD TO SLIP
33/1

15
Croco Bay
5/21-372
J:Kielan Woods
T: B I Case
ADD TO SLIP
33/1

5
Mcgroarty
45111P
J:B S Hughes
T: Dr R D P Newland
ADD TO SLIP
40/1

13
Winter Escape
3-P360P
J:R P McLernon
T: B Haslam
ADD TO SLIP
40/1

12
Caid Du Lin
24P15U
J:Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Dr R D P Newland
ADD TO SLIP
50/1

22
Western Miller
11P851
J:Reserve 2
T: C E Longsdon
ADD TO SLIP
NR

21
Delire D'Estruval
921-723
J:Reserve 1
T: B Pauling
ADD TO SLIP
NR

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