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5.30 National Hunt Chase Tips
Tuesday 15 March | Age: 4yo+ | Prize: £60,388
The National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase is the second-oldest race at the Cheltenham Festival but has actually been run the most number of times because the Grand Annual Handicap wasn’t run for a large period of the late 19th century.
A small field line up for the National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockey’s race, and it is a bit of a shame to see just six horses turn up. It does annoy me when trainers and owners complain about the prize money on offer in the UK, but when a £60k prize is on offer and only six horses turn up for it, it leaves you scratching your head.
Anyway, with the horses we have left, STATTLER and RUN WILD FRED have been the names on people’s lips for this race since pretty much the start of the season. The former is the current 2nd favourite, and this is a race which these connections seem to target very often and have done well in recent times, winning it with Galvin last year and Rathvinden in 2018, so you can see why he is popular. My issue with this horse is that his jumping doesn’t seem convincing. The latter named horse is currently priced up at around 15/8, and once again you can see why. He is a thorough stayer, shown by finishing second in the Irish Grand National last year over 3m 5f, but what is very off-putting about this horse is that he doesn’t seem to win all that often, and has five runner-up medals in ten chase runs, with just the one win.
VANILLIER is a horse with ability, as we all saw at last year's Cheltenham Festival when he romped home in the Albert Bartlett, beating PATS FANCY and Stattler, and beating them by many lengths. On pure ability, you’d have to say this lad has the most, but since that win at Cheltenham, he has struggled over fences. His jumping has been sticky, and not up to scratch, but I think this longer trip will suit and will aid his jumping. He clearly handles the track, will like the ground, and he’s had 44 days off the track to knuckle down and crack on with his jumping at home. At the odds, I think he is worth siding with against the two at the top of the market.
If the ground got testing, which it won’t, then BRAESIDE would’ve been of interest, but as things stand he’ll have to prove he handles this ground as well as soft/heavy.
National Hunt Chase Tips Tips
- Vanillier 7/2 @ The Pools
I was disappointed to see on the ropes taken out of this race as I was intending on taking on Run Wild Fred with him but now I’ve no other option but to take the Gordon Elliot runner as my selection.
Gordon Elliot has a great record in the National Hunt Chase and given there are only 7 going to post tomorrow I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t come out on top.
I’m a little bit worried about the lack of racing as he hasn’t been seen since December. He missed a race at Naas due to a temperature and further to that he didn’t run at Navan due to ground conditions.
No doubt he’s been aimed for this race and the Cheltenham track will play very much to his strengths.
National Hunt Chase Tips Tips
- Run Wild Fred 7/4 @ The Pools
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