Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase

The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase is the penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival and takes place at 4.50pm on Day 4 (Friday). The race will be broadcast on Racing TV (RTV). It is the second last of the 28 races during the meeting.

The race is often run at a fierce gallop and attracts two-mile specialists. Only two horses, Top Twenty and Dulwich, have won the race twice.

Length of race – The race is run over 2m½f.
Where to watch – RTV
When to watch – Friday, March 15 at 4.50pm.
Prize money – Last year’s race was worth £110,000.
Course – The race is run on the New course at Cheltenham.
Race type – The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase is a Grade 3 handicap chase for horses who are high enough in the handicap to compete. The race used to have a maximum field of 24 runners but that has been reduced to 20 runners this year.
Weights – Weights are allotted in relation to each horse’s individual handicap mark, with penalties accrued for wins after the weights are initially published several weeks before the race. No horse carries more than 11st 12lb.
Ages – Horses aged five and older are eligible to run in the Grand Annual.
Sponsor – The name of Johnny Henderson, a banker and racehorse owner, was added to the race’s title in 2005.

Past 10 winners:

Year Horse Previous form Age Price Trainer Jockey
2018 Le Prezien 8P-238 7 15-2 Paul Nicholls Barry Geraghty
2017 Rock The World 7-2080 9 10-1 Jessica Harrington Robbie Power
2016 Solar Impulse 263-3P 6 28-1 Paul Nicholls Sam Twiston-Davies
2015 Next Sensation 45-604 8 16-1 Michael Scudamore Tom Scudamore
2014 Savello 1-3439 8 16-1 Tony Martin Davy Russell
2013 Alderwood 1-S312 9 3-1F Thomas Mullins Tony McCoy
2012 Bellvano P-1621 8 20-1 Nicky Henderson Paul Carberry
2011 Oiseau De Nuit U6483 9 40-1 Colin Tizzard Mr Sam Clements
2010 Pigeon Island 222F5 7 16-1 Nigel Twiston-Davies Paddy Brennan
2009 Oh Crick 423F2 6 7-1 Alan King Wayne Hutchinson


Race stats

  • Distance winner, 10/10
  • No more than 12 runs over fences, 9/10
  • Aged nine or under, 10/10
  • Officially rated 138 to 150, 8/10 (the last eight)
  • Yet to win that season, 8/10
  • Top-three finish on at least one of last two starts, 8/10
  • Carried no more than 11st 2lb, 7/10
  • Had run at a previous festival, 7/10
  • No more than four runs since August, 6/10

Other factors

  • Six winners had won at the course – two of the exceptions had been placed in this race previously
  • There have been four winning novices
  • The record of the previous year’s winner is 5B009
  • The last five winners have carried at least 11st
  • Graham Bradley is the leading jockey in the history of the Grand Annual. His wins came aboard Pearlyman (1986), My Young Man (1992), Sound Reveille (1995) and Uncle Ernie (1997).
  • Paul Nicholls is the leading trainer in the history of the race, also with four wins. The Ditcheat trainer’s wins came with St Pirran (2004), Andreas (2007), Solar Impulse (2016) and Le Prezien (2018).

Key Trials

The Grand Annual is run at a frenetic pace and therefore horses who have previous experience of two-mile handicap chases tend to be suited by the test. The last seven British-trained winners had all ran in a two-mile chase at Cheltenham earlier in the season at some point.
The last Irish-trained winner, Rock The World, had also contested a two-mile chase at Cheltenham earlier in the season, while the Dan Moore Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse is a likely stepping point for runners trained in Ireland.

What happened last year?

Le Prezien powered home in an incident-packed race to justify Barry Geraghty’s choice to ride the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old. View the 2018 Grand Annual Chase result and replay here.

Where can I get Cheltenham Festival tickets?

Cheltenham Festival tickets can be purchased from the official festival website here.

Grand Annual Tip

Ben Haslam has been enjoying a fine spell on the Flat and over jumps for quite some time now and Bouvreuil can put up a bold show. The eight-year-old has three excellent festival efforts to his name for Paul Nicholls and will be well suited to the fast-run demands of this race. Nicholls has a good record in the 2m½f contest and in the five-year-old Magic Saint he has a progressive, unexposed candidate. Valdez has been showing signs he may be on the way back.
(Ben Hutton)

1. Bouvreuil, 2. Magic Saint, 3. Valdez

View the racecard and place your bets here.