3m6f National Hunt Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) – Tuesday 10th March 2020
2m4f Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) – Tuesday 10th March 2020
The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase is always an intriguing race, aimed at Novice Chasers who aren’t quite yet up to Grade 1 standard. The rating band was changed in 2018 from a 0-140 to a 0-145, attracting a highly competitive field with just 7lbs between the top and bottom weights in 2019, and 8lbs in 2018 (excluding any claims). The race was extremely kind to my selections twelve months ago, with leading fancy A Plus Tard bolting up, and my second selection Tower Bridge following him home. The performance of A Plus Tard from a rating of 144 was that of an incredibly well Handicapped Horse, which has since been proven by him landing a Grade 1 at Leopardstown and earning a mark of 165. A similar story applies to 2018 winner Mister Whitaker, who won the Grade 2 Silver Trophy Handicap in April from a mark of 149 (12lbs higher than when winning this contest). This highlights the type of Horse required to win the race however, as essentially the weights are now irrelevant; Horses who wish to participate will need a mark of 140 to guarantee themselves a run, but obviously cannot be rated higher than 145. Whilst it is no longer an issue winning the race off top-weight, it will inevitably require a Horse who is ahead of the assessor.
The Showcase meeting is the traditional curtain raiser for Cheltenham’s season, kicking off what promises to be a fantastic National Hunt season at Jumps Racing HQ. We’re treated to an absolutely fantastic card on Day 1, with starts such as Al Dancer, Getaway Trump and Wholestone all taking their chances in Novice Chase events. I’ll be at the track across both Days this weekend, so be sure to Follow me on twitter @JakePriceRacing for updates throughout the day. Cheltenham is back!
17:15 – Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – 4m2½f
The long wait is over and the Grand National is finally here! Last year was hugely successful for us with one of my favourite horses in Tiger Roll winning the race, tipped up on this site at 14/1. This year our hero is back, but fancy prices like that are long gone.
With just three weeks between the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals this year, we haven’t been starved of top class National Hunt racing for long – but I’m excited to delve back into Graded action over the jumps. Day 1 of the Aintree Festival provides us with four Grade 1 events, and the Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase over the famous Grand National fences. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JakePriceTips for live updates throughout the day, and best of luck with your bets over this fantastic three-day meeting.