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Ultima Handicap Chase

14:50 Cheltenham Festival

2022-03-15

Winner: £70337.5

Runners: 24

Going: Good To Soft

No. of hurdles: 20

Distance: 3m1f0y

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The Ultima Handicap Chase is a long-distance handicap chase run as the third race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival. It is the first of five handicap chases run at the festival. Winners of the race often take part in the Grand National - those who have achieved victory in both events include Royal Tan, Team Spirit, West Tip, Seagram and Rough Quest.

NO.DRAW
FORM
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5(0)
1469P2
silk
Noble Yeats

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J: Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
T: Emmet Mullins
7
10-9
147
168
Chase career hasn't gone entirely to plan since Galway win in October (2m2f, soft), including twice in a hood, but he ran as well as could be expected behind high-flying Ahoy Senor at Wetherby last month (3m, good), albeit that the form is hard to assess with the winner in a different league; should be capable of better; first run for new owner, with the National on the agenda.
12(0)
1-58P2
silk
Vintage Clouds

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J: Sean Quinlan
T: Sue Smith
12
10-6
144
175
Having his sixth run in this race and has been solid as a rock when running in it off marks in the 140s, placed in 2018 and 2019 then rising from the ashes to see off his rivals 12 months ago (soft); place chance off just 1lb higher; has won on good but is suited by soft.
10(0)
76-571
silk
Death Duty

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J: Jack Kennedy
T: Gordon Elliott
11
10-6
144
172
Best on soft/heavy; won Grade 1 novice events over hurdles and fences in 2017 (favourite for Albert Bartlett that year, beaten when unseating) but mid-division in the Plate in 2020; layoffs have marred his career but he forged clear at Punchestown in February (3m4f, heavy) and is well treated back up 6lb if he can repeat it back here on less testing ground.
1(0)
51-147
silk
Frodon

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J: Bryony Frost
T: Paul Nicholls
10
11-12
164
173
Valiant front-runner and a natural jumper who includes the 2019 Ryanair and the 2020 King George (3m, good to soft) in a long list of big wins; gamely beat Gold Cup contender Galvin at Down Royal in October but he doesn't like sharing the lead and hasn't been seen to best effect on last two starts; has a mighty task under top weight back in a handicap.
4(0)
782472
silk
Ben Dundee

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J: Danny Mullins
T: Andrew Lynch
10
10-9
147
171
Beaten about 5l off this mark in the 2m4f Plate in 2020 but better known as a stayer now and he nearly nicked a valuable 3m chase at Leopardstown in December (good to yielding) on second start back with this trainer, only to be reeled in late on; has losing run of over three years to overcome but is a solid contender.
2(0)
5P-15P
silk
Lostintranslation

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J: Brendan Powell
T: Colin Tizzard
10
11-3
155
173
Exceptional effort when a close third in the 2020 Gold Cup (3m2f, good to soft) but has had two more wind surgeries since and the one bright spot in the last two years was a Grade 2 Ascot win in November (2m5f, good); pulled up back there last month and is unpredictable now; cheekpieces added for this first run in a handicap.
19(0)
-34421
silk
Run To Milan

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J: Alan Johns
T: Victor Dartnall
10
10-0
138
169
Mostly made the running of late; in peak form when winning 3m veterans' chase at Exeter (soft) last month but others are likely to be better handicapped now he's on a career-high mark.
20(0)
-51F13
silk
Our Power

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J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Sam Thomas
7
10-0
136
170
Creditable in the Fred Winter over 2m here three years ago; has done well over fences for up-and-coming yard, winning twice over 2m4f (good/soft) before held up to get the new trip of 3m at Kempton 17 days ago, apparently seeing it out well; has a bigger stamina query here; 2lb out of the handicap.
22(0)
1F1-F4
silk
Belargus

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J: Niall Houlihan
T: Nick Gifford
7
10-0
135
170
Winner of his two most recent completions over fences (1m7f, heavy/2m4f, good) but has also fallen three times in his last six chases and didn't look an obvious improver for the step up to 2m7f back hurdling 17 days ago; 3lb out of the handicap.
16(0)
-42131
silk
Kiltealy Briggs

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J: A P Heskin
T: Jamie Snowden
8
10-3
141
175
Mid-division in the Plate last March (2m4f); in better form since and, if anything, he added to his reputation when travelling strongly for a long way behind top novices at Kempton on Boxing Day (3m, soft); subsequent win (with cheekpieces added) was over 2m4f, though, and stamina for this far is unproven; headgear retained.
13(0)
4-P211
silk
Rapper

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J: Tom O'Brien
T: Henry Daly
8
10-5
143
168
Ran better than the bare result when seventh in the 3m Pertemps over hurdles here in 2020; has not yet reached his full potential as a chaser but this is a big jump in class from recent 3m1f wins in small fields (soft/good), most recently when having to knuckle down at Wincanton in February.
21(0)
F11-8P
silk
One More Fleurie

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J: Charlie Todd
T: Ian Williams
8
10-0
135
171
Progressive front-runner last spring when winning final four completions at 2m4f-3m on ground ranging from soft to good; however, not in anything like the same form this term, coming home in his own time at Ascot and pulled up a long way out in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November; 3lb out of the handicap.
7(0)
4987P2
silk
Foxy Jacks

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J: Jonathan Moore
T: M F Morris
8
10-7
145
166
Useful runner-up at Leopardstown last month (2m5f, yielding) but he didn't find much over 3m at Leopardstown after Christmas and has yet to win beyond 2m4f; others are higher up the list.
14(0)
P-6F61
silk
Discordantly

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J: Robbie Power
T: Mrs John Harrington
8
10-5
138
172
Back to form with cheekpieces (retained today) replacing a tongue-tie when winning at Leopardstown nine days ago (2m5f, yielding); penalty to carry and he wasn't a significant contender when sixth in this race last March.
8(0)
-2008U
silk
Doctor Duffy

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J: Liam Quinlan
T: C Byrnes
9
10-7
145
167
Good late work and wasn't beaten far in the 2m4f Martin Pipe in 2020; just respectable form over hurdles this winter but was in the process of running creditably back over fences in Death Duty's Punchestown race last month (3m4f, heavy) until unseating two out; this will need more.
9(0)
33-124
silk
Tea Clipper

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J: Stan Sheppard
T: Tom Lacey
7
10-7
145
174
Third in major handicap hurdles here and at Aintree last spring (2m5f/3m; good to soft); looked tailor-made for fences when winning on chase debut at Chepstow (2m3f, good) but had unfortunate experiences on next two starts, most recently on unsuitably soft ground against star novices at Kempton on Boxing Day; had wind surgery since; needs to wipe the slate clean in first-time cheekpieces.
6(0)
-P3313
silk
Floueur

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J: Jordan Gainford
T: Gordon Elliott
7
10-8
146
172
Made up a lot of late ground when third in the Martin Pipe over hurdles here last year (2m4f, good to soft); wasn't entirely happy back on heavy ground behind Death Duty at Punchestown last month (3m4f; still a good effort) but previous win at Fairyhouse (2m5f, good to yielding) showed him to be an up-and-coming chaser; respected.
17(0)
2-7812
silk
Full Back

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J: Joshua Moore
T: Gary Moore
7
10-2
140
175
Suited by staying trips and was a convincing winner over 3m2f here in January; divided higher-rated rivals at Taunton since (3m4f, good to soft) and, although having more on his plate than for either of those races, he is going the right way.
15(0)
16-513
silk
Grumpy Charley

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J: Bryan Carver
T: Chris Honour
7
10-4
142
172
Triple 2m hurdle winner; likeable effort when breezing clear at Newbury (2m6f, soft) after Christmas on second chase start, and strong form when 6l third to top novice Bravemansgame there next time (2m7f, good to soft); more to come from him and he is an interesting outsider.
3(0)
5-1121
silk
Does He Know

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J: David Bass
T: Kim Bailey
7
11-0
152
172
Has bags of course form, winning two novice hurdles (one a Grade 2) before outpointed in the Ballymore, then a novice chase in October (3m, good); had little meaningful opposition in Grade 2 at Ascot last month (3m) where he raced freely and had a hard race on soft; has potential if he's back on less testing ground today.
18(0)
-3114U
silk
Corach Rambler

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J: Derek Fox
T: Lucinda Russell
8
10-2
140
173
Has his own way of doing things and his jumping wasn't totally assured before unseating at Ascot recently (first-time tongue-tie, retained); however, had something to spare over 3m1f here in December (good to soft) and conditions will suit if he can get his eye in early over the fences.
11(0)
3-1231
silk
Fantastikas

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J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
7
10-6
144
171
Has come a long way in a short time, having made his hurdle debut in November 2020; has done well over fences, with 2m7f handicap and novice wins at Lingfield (good to soft/heavy) bookending good runs in Grade 2s at Doncaster and here; straightforward type who stays well and knows how to grit his teeth; can improve further for yard that is 30% (8-27) here this season.
23(0)
3-F345
silk
Oscar Elite

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J: Harry Cobden
T: Colin Tizzard
7
10-0
134
168
Runner-up in 3m Albert Bartlett (good to soft) last March; running well when he came to grief on chase debut here in November but hasn't gone on from that (bled from the nose once) and was well held on handicap debut over 2m4f here in January; has plenty to find from 4lb wrong.
24(0)
1-3222
silk
Gericault Roque

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J: Tom Scudamore
T: David Pipe
6
10-0
133
169
Won handicap hurdle debut over 2m but stays much further and acquitted himself with great credit against improvers over fences at Newbury (3m2f) and Warwick (3m5f) the last twice, both on soft; will do well to break his chase duck from 5lb wrong; tongue-tie (tried twice last winter) refitted.

RACING POST TIP

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silk
Floueur
Frodon has come undaunted through many years of hard work but giving this weight to whippersnappers along with well-treated rivals asks a lot of him. FLOUEUR caught the eye in a big way over hurdles at the Festival last year and his Fairyhouse win in January showed he has considerable potential as a chaser. He will be suited by the return to less testing ground after finishing behind Death Duty at Punchestown, whereas the latter, although well treated on his old form, could do with a good dollop of rain. Does He Know and Noble Yeats are open to improvement and the former may be the main danger to the selection, although Ben Dundee, who ran so well at Leopardstown last time and has course form at the Festival, has a big run in him. Fantastikas and last year's winner Vintage Clouds can also have a say.

Verdict

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ULTIMA HANDICAP PREVIOUS WINNERS

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ULTIMA HANDICAP KEY TRENDS AND STATS

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WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR - ULTIMA HANDICAP 2021

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