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Cheltenham Festival Ultima Chase tips: Trends point to strong bids from Twig and Weveallbeencaught

In the absence of two-time winner Corach Rambler, there will be a new winner of the first handicap of the week. Our resident trends analyst Andrew of Fiosrach has picked out his best bets for us.

Our selection on Saturday saw Making Headway finish fourth in the Imperial Cup at Sandown, giving a small return to anyone who managed to get the 8/1 before he was backed down. He appeared to well beaten at one stage, but rallied well in the latter stages to hold on for a place.

Turning our attention to Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival, we are tackling the always competitive Ultima Handicap Chase, which is likely to be run on soft going and should be a stiff stamina test for the 23 declared runners. 

14:50 - Ultima Handicap Chase (2 miles 87 yards)

We have used the trends below to narrow down the field, and a couple of general guidelines is that northern-based runners have a good record in this renewal, as do horses that have run in the race before.

Planet Sport Bet: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Weveallbeencaught finishes in the first 4 places, get a £5 Free Bet!

Positive trends:

  • All winners since 2000 had won over 3 miles+
  • 18/24 were officially rated 143 or less
  • 16/23 came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 19/23 winners returned 11/1 or shorter
  • 17/23 were novices or second season chasers
  •   9/16 winners were rated between 142-146 (7 between 142-145)
  • 15/23 were rated 140+ 
  •   9/21 won last time out
  • 10/12 wore headgear
  • 10/14 winners had run at Cheltenham that season
  •   5/10 ran in the Coral Gold Cup (Hennessy) that season
  •     5/9 had run at Cheltenham’s January meeting
  • 12/15 winners had run at the Festival before
  • Jonjo O’Neill, Lucinda Russell, Alan King, Nicky Henderson, Tony Martin & David Pipe are trainers to note

Negative trends

Be wary of horses carrying more than 11st 3lb in weight – 12 of the last 19 carried 10-12 or less, although the 2017 winner carried 11-12, the 2019 winner won with 11-8 and last year’s winner Corach Rambler carried 11st 5lbs.

  • Horses aged 11 or older are just 3 from 55 to even make the frame
  • Be wary of Paul Nicholls-trained horses – he is currently 0 from 25
  • Only 3 winners in the last 15 hadn’t raced at a previous Festival
  • Only 5 winners since 2000 have returned bigger than 11/1
  • The Irish have won just 2 of the last 55 runnings
  • Irish-trained runners are 0-38 in the last 17 runnings.
  • 2 winning favourites in the last 10 runnings (20%)

Twig has won over the trip, ran well to finish second here in October, and has run well and won in big fields before. Ben Pauling has been in great form throughout the season and Beau Morgan claims a useful five pounds.

Suggested bet (1): Twig each-way in the 14:50 at Cheltenham

 

Chianti Classico was pulled up here in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle last season and has only had three chase runs since winning twice and finishing second last time out.

Kim Bailey has deliberately rested the horse for this race, as he takes a lot out of himself with each run. Chianti Classico has won in a big field hurdle and my only concern is his lack of chasing experience.

Famous Bridge has had an up and down season, unseating his rider and then being pulled up in his last two races, which was preceded by two wins at Haydock over this trip on soft and heavy going. My main doubt about Famous Bridge is his lack of course experience.

Weveallbeencaught has run three times over fences and all three were here at Cheltenham. He ran at the Festival last year in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, finishing seventh behind Stay Away Fay, but his trainer has always thought he would be a better chaser.

He sports a first time tongue tie, which will aid his breathing and horses with headgear have a good record in this race.

Suggested bet (2): Weveallbeencaught each-way in the 14:50 at Cheltenham

 

There are a number of highly-fancied Irish runners in this race including Stumptown, Meetingofthewaters and Minella Crooner, but the Irish have an extremely poor record in this race. 

Based on the trends analysis, I am therefore suggesting each-way bets on Twig and Weveallbeencaught.

As always, please be sure to shop around for the best combination of good prices and extra places, as this is an extremely competitive race.

READ MORE: Cheltenham racing tips: Best bets for Day One at the Festival

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