National Hunt Chase Tips – Day 1 – Cheltenham 2015
National Hunt Chase
The race in which amateur jockeys really get to shine, Tuesday’s National Hunt Chase for novice chasers over 4m is not for the faint-hearted, although trainer, Alan King, knows what it takes to get one ready having won it twice, and goes to war with Sego Success (5/1).
Success For Sego?
Already 2-3 over fences, this 7yo is on an upward curve, recording a career best when landing a Listed event at Warwick in January (3m, soft).
His jockey stated afterwards that he has bundles of stamina, and with winning form on good ground over hurdles, he should enjoy the conditions he faces for the first time on Tuesday.
Sego Success has also been given a sensible 59-day break since that victory, which has proven a wise move in this race down the years…
Of the last 10 NH Chase winners…
9 were officially rated 120 or higher
9 had 3-10 career chase runs – others were 1-42
9 had a 26-day or longer break – others were 1-70
8 were 7-8yo’s – others were 2-66
8 ran in a non-handicap last time
A King won it twice
Heading the market at this stage, though, is Willie Mullins’, Don Poli (3/1), who has also been rested since making it 2-2 over fences at Leopardstown over Christmas (3m, soft). That Grade 1 victory showed how much class Don Poli possesses, and having won the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle at last year’s festival, he is proven over conditions, bar the 4m trip. Mullins – who won this race 12 months ago – did state that Don Poli has plenty of stamina, and it’s clear to see why backers have latched onto him.
Meade May Strike?
Just behind Don Poli at 4/1 in the market is Noel Meade’s 6yo, Very Wood, who made up for two pulled up efforts in November/December by landing a Grade 2 novice at Navan last time (3m, soft). Meade said afterwards that he can be a bit funny, hence his hot/cold form, but it’s possible he is not a peak winter type, as four of his six wins came in February, March and April, including when winning the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle here 12 months ago.
Meade also has the option of running the 6yo, Wounded Warrior, a Grade 2 winners at Naas in January (3m, soft), although he is capable of making the odd mistake with his jumping, which will come under the microscope on his debut at Cheltenham.
More Success For 7yo’s
With 7yo’s boasting a better record than 6yo’s in this race, Gordon Elliott’s, Cause Of Causes (9/1) needs consideration as he was beaten under 2l when second in last year’s Kim Muir Handicap Chase here (3m1f, good). He hasn’t shown much in two runs this season, though (was in from approaching Cheltenham last year), and will need to bounce back if figuring.
Michael Hourigan’s 7yo, The Job Is Right (10/1), will also need to hit back having twice been unplaced following two good runs over Christmas. A closer look does reveal he was keeping on late over an inadequate 2m5f last time, though, and Hourigan stated following his 3m win at Punchestown on New year’s Eve that he had this race in mind.
This will all be about the ability to stay the trip, jump well and handle decent ground, which will suit Sego Success, who is an improving stayer that will relish this trip and has Mr Sam Waley-Cohen booked to do the job.