The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase takes place at 4.50pm on Day 1 (Tuesday) of the Cheltenham Festival and will be broadcast by Racing TV (RTV).
The race has been won by the likes of Hunt Ball, Irish Cavalier and Mister Whitaker in recent years.
Length of race – The race is run over 2m4f.
Where to watch – RTV.
When to watch – Tuesday, March 12 at 4.50pm.
Prize money – Last year’s race was worth £65,000.
Course – The race is run on the Old course at Cheltenham.
Race type – The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase is a handicap open to runners rated from 0-145.
Weights – As the race is a handicap, horses carry weights in relation to their rating. The weights are published several weeks in advance, so horses may carry a penalty for a victory after the weights are announced.
Ages – Horses aged five or over can compete in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Sponsor – Close Brothers Group has sponsored the race since 2016.
Past ten winners:
|2018||Mister Whitaker||3-3121||6||13-2||Mick Channon||Brian Hughes|
|2017||Tully East||64-162||7||8-1||Alan Fleming||Denis O’Regan|
|2016||Ballyalton||2/U62F||9||12-1||Ian Williams||Brian Hughes|
|2015||Irish Cavalier||17-323||6||11-1||Rebecca Curtis||Paul Townend|
|2014||Present View||32121||6||8-1||Jamie Snowden||Brendan Powell|
|2013||Rajdhani Express||P-2F17||6||16-1||Nicky Henderson||Sam Waley-Cohen|
|2012||Hunt Ball||12111||7||13-2F||Keiran Burke||Nick Scholfield|
|2011||Divers||31591||7||10-1||Ferdy Murphy||Graham Lee|
|2010||Copper Bleu||21-321||8||12-1||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson|
|2009||Chapoturgeon||19-F21||5||8-1||Paul Nicholls||Timmy Murphy|
- Officially rated 132-142, 10/10
- Top-three finish on last completed start, 9/10
- Won over at least 2m2f, 8/10
- Carried no more than 11st 8lb, 8/10
- Aged six or seven, 7/10
- Finished in the first four in all completed starts over fences, 6/10
- Three winners had fallen at least once over fences
- Three winners ran over hurdles at a previous festival
- Two winners had hurdle RPRs of at least 140, three in the 130s and three in the 120s
- Only one winner started bigger than 12-1
- Brian Hughes and Graham Lee are the leading jockeys in the history of the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase with two wins each. Hughes’s wins came on Ballyalton (2016) and Mister Whitaker (2018), while Lee’s wins came on L’Antartique (2007) and Divers (2011).
- Ferdy Murphy is the leading trainer in the race with two wins. Murphy’s victories came with L’Antartique (2007) and Divers (2011).
The novice handicap chase on trials day at Cheltenham has proved a key race with last year’s winner Mister Whitaker warming up with a victory in the January contest. Ten of the last 14 winners failed to win either of their first two chase starts. The trends suggest recent form is key, rather than early-season form.
What happened last year?
Mister Whitaker collared Rather Be in a closing stages to get up for a head victory. View the 2018 Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase results and replay here.
Where can I get Cheltenham Festival tickets?
Cheltenham Festival tickets can be purchased from the official festival website here.
Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase Tip
The step back up in trip to 2m4f should suit Mind’s Eye, who kept on for a creditable fifth on his handicap chase debut over 2m1f at Leopardstown in February. The Henry de Bromhead-trained seven-year-old has the class to play a big part, having been fourth in the Grade 1 Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last April. There should be more to come over fences from Lough Derg Spirit, while the 2m4f trip should bring out the best in Huntsman Son.
1. Mind’s Eye, 2. Lough Derg Spirit, 3. Huntsman Son
View the racecard and place your bets here.