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Grand Annual Chase

16:50 Cheltenham Festival

2022-03-16

Winner: £70337.5

Runners: 16

Going: Heavy

No. of hurdles: 13

Distance: 1m7f199y

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The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase takes place at 4.50pm on day two. It is often run at a fierce gallop and attracts two-mile handicap specialists. Only two horses, Top Twenty and Dulwich, have won the race twice.

NO.DRAW
FORM
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HORSE
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ODDS
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JOCKEY& TRAINER
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AGE
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WGT
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OR
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15(0)
2U1PU5
silk
Poseidon

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J: Danny Mullins
T: C Byrnes
8
10-11
141
160
Ties in with Embittered on Killarney summer form; has failed to complete in three of his five subsequent starts and, while he managed to win at Cork in October, he doesn't look a solid proposition off this mark.
1(0)
-24324
silk
Sky Pirate

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J: Nick Scholfield
T: Jonjo O'Neill
9
11-12
156
163
Has form figures of 112 in 2m contests at Cheltenham, including a narrow success (off 4lb lower; first two clear) in this race last year; largely consistent in handicaps, including two contests won by Before Midnight, and Grade 2 races this term; solid chance.
20(0)
-92023
silk
Global Citizen

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J: Kielan Woods
T: Ben Pauling
10
10-6
136
161
Not disgraced in good races over hurdles this year; showed useful novice chase form two seasons ago, winning Kempton Grade 2 then fourth in the Arkle; however, pulled up in last two attempts over fences.
NR(0)
1-1142
silk
Before Midnight

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T: Sam Thomas
9
11-4
148
164
Progressive sort who has a good strike-rate at about 2m; beat Sky Pirate by 6l over C&D in October, the middle leg of a chase hat-trick; good effort at Doncaster last time behind Funambule Sivola, who followed up in the Game Spirit and runs in the Champion Chase today; shortlisted.
18(0)
-F31F4
silk
For Pleasure

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J: Harry Bannister
T: Alex Hales
7
10-8
138
164
Exuberant front-runner; some good hurdles form here last term, including third in the Supreme; similarly useful over fences this season but not without incident (twice a faller) and this big-field scenario isn't ideal.
16(0)
03-482
silk
Gumball

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J: Paddy Brennan
T: Fergal O'Brien
8
10-10
140
167
In pole position when falling two out in Grade 2 novice over C&D last term (for previous yard) and returns here off a handy mark; close second at Ludlow when last seen but didn't look straightforward; cheekpieces enlisted.
NR(0)
222214
silk
Buddy Rich

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T: Gordon Elliott
9
11-0
144
156
Has form figures of 222214 since switched to chasing, all of those races last autumn; possibly feeling the effects of a busy spell when favourite last time; ran creditably behind a smart rival over C&D three starts ago and, brought back fresh for this big prize, looks interesting.
9(0)
2-4211
silk
Elixir De Nutz

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J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T: Colin Tizzard
8
10-13
143
160
Successful from the front in novice company at Plumpton (2m3f) and Kempton (2m2f handicap) this year; still unexposed over fences but has looked best in small fields; something to prove in this scenario.
2(0)
113P-2
silk
Andy Dufresne

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J: Mark Walsh
T: Gordon Elliott
8
11-11
155
159
Has a record of 113112 at about 2m, most recently a good second in Naas Grade 3 in November; beat Exit Poll and Embittered in October/December 2020; evidently kept fresh for major spring prizes and should be well primed for this; interesting on handicap debut.
5(0)
211326
silk
Exit Poll

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J: Sean O'Keeffe
T: Mrs John Harrington
8
11-5
149
156
Gamely beat Embittered in Grade 3 novice chase at Roscommon in September; ran well at Leopardstown in December but needs to bounce back from a below-par effort there (race won by A Wave Of The Sea) last month.
11(0)
16/13F
silk
Dancing On My Own

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J: Darragh O'Keeffe
T: Henry De Bromhead
8
10-13
143
158
Won at Killarney (chase debut) in October on return from long absence, beating Buddy Rich; below par in both starts since (beaten when falling latest) but has possibilities if back to the reappearance form; tongue-tie applied.
7(0)
121365
silk
Embittered

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J: B J Cooper
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
8
11-1
145
157
Useful sort whose most recent win came in Grade 3 novice chase at Punchestown in October; never dangerous in Grade 1 last time; good third off 1lb higher in the 2020 County Hurdle here and has a major chance granted a clear round (fell five out when favourite for this contest last year).
3(0)
11-U11
silk
Editeur Du Gite

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J: Joshua Moore
T: Gary Moore
8
11-9
153
158
Progressive since last spring and he's 4-5 in 2m events on left-handed tracks, including all-the-way wins on the Old and New courses here in November/December; faces competition for the lead in this bigger field but otherwise has a good profile.
19(0)
42U111
silk
Hasankey

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J: Lewis Dobb
T: L J Morgan
6
10-7
137
161
Comes here at the top of his game; however, this is a world away from his wins in small fields at Fontwell, Ayr and Wetherby; will do very well to complete the four-timer off his new mark at this level.
14(0)
-43312
silk
Frero Banbou

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J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Venetia Williams
7
10-11
141
167
Ex-French 7yo who has a largely sound record in Britain, clear second (off just 1lb lower) at Sandown most recently; won at Lingfield the time before; better than ever and may well rate higher still.
NR(0)
6-91F8
silk
Capuccimix

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T: Henry De Bromhead
9
10-8
138
160
Respectable sixth in this contest 12 months ago but is 2lb higher now and more exposed than many of these rivals; furthermore, his latest effort (beaten long way) doesn't augur well.
NR(0)
07-2U1
silk
Thyme White

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T: Paul Nicholls
6
10-12
142
163
Comes here fresh, having been absent since his very easy success in novice handicap at Doncaster 11 weeks ago when partnered by Bryony Frost for the first time; better off with Amarillo Sky on Wincanton form in November (chase debut; tried to run out when he unseated early next time); open to any amount of further progress over fences; top trainer, who also runs Il Ridoto, has won this race four times; highly respected.
4(0)
5062F1
silk
A Wave Of The Sea

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J: Shane Fitzgerald
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
6
11-6
150
158
Scored at Leopardstown last month in the same race he'd won in 2021 before disappointing in the Plate here (2m4f trip wasn't entirely to blame); has a bit to prove off a stiffer mark back at this big stage.
10(0)
6412F1
silk
Amarillo Sky

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J: Brendan Powell
T: Colin Tizzard
6
10-13
143
164
Improving novice chaser whose form stacks up well; looked the likely winner when falling two out at Newbury in January, then gained compensation in good style there last month having jumped well; should have even more to offer; attractive profile.
12(0)
2-31P3
silk
Il Ridoto

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J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
5
10-13
143
159
Ex-French youngster who is 1-4 in Britain, the win gained in impressive fashion at Newbury in November (last handicap start); could be dangerous if he shows that sort of spark back in a handicap scenario.

RACING POST TIP

circle_v2
silk
Thyme White
Some of the novice chasers in this field are very interesting, notably THYME WHITE who scored on the bridle at Doncaster 11 weeks ago, could well have plenty more to offer over fences and represents a yard that has won the Grand Annual four times. Second choice is Amarillo Sky, who ties in with the selection and also looks capable of further progress. Third choice is Buddy Rich, who should be well primed for this prize. Second-season chasers Andy Dufresne and Embittered are worthy of respect, while last year's winner Sky Pirate and Thyme White's stablemate Il Ridoto are others to consider. Several possible challengers for the early lead include Editeur Du Gite and Before Midnight, who are progressive and have good form but could help to set the race up for the closers.

Verdict

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GRAND ANNUAL PREVIOUS WINNERS

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GRAND ANNUAL KEY TRENDS AND STATS

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WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR - GRAND ANNUAL 2021

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