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2020 Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase Trends
The last 10 winners:
Finished in the first two in one of their last three starts
Had run a minimum of three times that season
Had run in no more than nine chases
Had run in a chase over a distance of at least 2m4f - five winning
Last ran 17-58 days ago
Nine of the last 10 winners:
Were officially rated at least 137
Had run in no more than five chases
Had run in no more than four handicap chases, if any
Had run no more than five times that season
Featured in the top six in the betting, with odds no greater than 12/1
Eight of the last 10 winners:
Had won a chase - but not more than two
Were aged no older than seven
Finished in the first three last time out
Carried at least 11st 4lbs in the race
Had run at Cheltenham - one winning
Key Trials in the last 10 years
The Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham has thrown out three winners (Mister Whitaker, Irish Cavalier & Rajdhani Express) and two placed horses in the past 10 years. Simply The Betts beat Imperial Aura in the 2020 renewal.
Last year first, A Plus Tard, and third, Ben Dundee, contested the Grade 3 Killiney Novice Chase at Punchestown.Carefully Selected won this trial in 2020, but is headed for the National Hunt Chase.
Carefully Selected secures a second victory over fences after landing the Grade 3 Killiney Novice Chase for Paul Townend and @WillieMullinsNH
Only the late, great Ferdy Murphy won more than one running of this race in it's 15-year history.
One trainer in profit now though is Phillip Hobbs, who has had one winner and a placed horse from nine runners. It you'd bet £1 on all nine, you would be up £5.
Gordon Elliott is 0/5, but has had a placed runner.
Paul Nicholls is 0/10, but has also had a placed runner.
Nicky Henderson is 1/18, and has saddled four placed runners.
The #Racehour Cheltenham Festival Preview Night.
This season's Champion Jockey-elect Brian Hughes has ridden two winners of this race in the past four years, for different trainers. He certainly seems to have a knack for riding young horses over fences.
In 2019, Rachael Blackmore rode her first Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase winner on the second five-year-old to win the 15-year-old race, A Plus Tard.
How did the trends do last year?
With the winner just about always coming from the top six in the betting, 5/1 favourite A Plus Tard had to be on the trends shortlist, but he had far more positives than just that.
Unexposed, the Henry De Bromhead-trained star had run only three times over fences, winning once over 2m3f and, crucially, finishing second twice over 2m4f. That good break from his last run in January to his Cheltenham Festival win in March was a slightly negative, as was his youth - aged five - but he had already hit the most important trends.
Second Tower Bridge, a 6/1 shot, also spoke to the trends, boasting a very similar profile, and having the added bonus of previous Cheltenham form.
Highway One O One, who had been second last time out in the useful Cheltenham trial, was another trends pick, but finished 10th, while Lough Derg also fit the profile, but could not handle the soft ground - no matter how ready he was to be a Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase winner.
At the moment, Hold The Note, heads the betting for the Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase, and has some uncanny similarities to 2018 winner Mister Whitaker.
Also owned by the Radford family and trained by Mick Channon, the six-year-old has run three times over fences, including in the same Kempton handicap chase Mister Whitaker ran in. He has gone on to be second in a Grade 2 novices' chase over 3m though, which might make connections lean towards the RSA Novices' Chase, especially considering his high rating of 145.
In his abscence, there are loads of trends positives for Beakstown, Gowiththeflow, Paint The Dream, and Cloudy Glen. Keep an eye on them as the final trials play out, and remember - 58 days was the most any winner in the last 10 years had between their last run and this Festival test.
Imperial Aura was placed in the right race last time at Cheltenham and looks well placed on trends also.
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Jessica Lamb is one of Bookmakers.com's racing expert. As a multi-media journalist also specialising is cycling and athletics, she has worked on news desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun as well as providing content for professional sports teams, national sports governing bodies and Boylesports.
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