Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase Tips and Betting

Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase Preview

This Novices Handicap Chase was introduced into the Festival in 2011 replacing the old Jewson Novices Handicap and also switching to the first day of the Festival.

The handicap is limited to horses rated under 140 and with so many entries, most runners will be rated within a few lbs of this, making for a very compressed handicap.

This makes it very hard for a trainer to campaign a horse for this race specifically.

2013 winner Rajdhani Express won this off a mark of 140 and then went on to run third in the Ryanair the following year, progressing to a handicap rating as high as 160.

2015 winner Irish Cavalier won this off a mark of 137 and went on to race off a mark as high as 160.

So you are looking for a horse likely to progress to be running at the highest levels in the future.



Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase Last Ten Winners

Table below shows the last ten winners of the race, their age/weight at the time of winning, trainer, jockey and odds (starting price).

YearHorseAge/WgtTrainerJockeyPrice
2017Tully East7-11-8A FlemingD ORegan8/1
2016Ballyalton9-11-10I WilliamsB Hughes12/1
2015Irish Cavlier6-11-7R CurtisP Townend11/1
2014Present View6-11-7J SnowdenB Powell8/1
2013Rajdhani Express6-11-7N HendersonMr S Waley-Cohen16/1
2012Hunt Ball7-12-0Keiran BurkeN Schofield13/2F
2011Divers7-11-4F MurphyG Lee10/1
2010Copper Bleu8-11-0P HobbsR Johnson12/1
2009Chapoturgeon5-10-11P NichollsT Murphy8/1
2008Finger On The Pulse7-10-12T TaaffeB Geraghty9/1


Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase Trends

The last 13 years trends analysis will of course include stats prior to the changes in the conditions of the race. We should remain aware that the new race is raced on a different part of the Cheltenham course and as such is over a slightly shorter distance of two and a half miles as opposed to 2m 5f.

The handicap ceiling has also moved down to a maximum of an official rating of 140 (although Hunt Ball managed to exploit the Rules in 2012 to run off 142!) so be aware of that when making your selections as up to 2010 there was no upper ceiling and this may change the viability of the existing trends.

13 / 13Were sent off no bigger than 20/1
13 / 13Had previously not run in more than 4 Class 1 races
13 / 13Had not previously won a Class 1 race
12 / 13Had run within the last 45 days
12 / 13Has recorded no more than 2 wins in the past year (365 days)
12 / 13Were rated no more than 8lb more than the lowest rated runner
12 / 13Had previously contested in 6 or fewer chases
11 / 12Carried between 3lbs lower & 2lbs higher than the average race weight


Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase Trends Analysis

This race will always have a very tight look to it now that the race conditions have changed and the whole field are likely to be very closely matched with little weight difference.

One of the old trends where we were looking for a horse with less than eleven stone has definitely gone out the window as every horse in the last eight years has carried more than that amount.

Since the change in race conditions every winner has carried 11st 4lb or more



Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase Trainer Statistics

The table below outlines some of the top trainers record in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase over the last ten years

TrainerRunnersWinsPlaces (Inc Wins)Win LSPEach Way LSP
Nicky Henderson2016-3.0010.01
Paul Nicholls1212-3.00-3.75
Philip Hobbs11122.00-0.50
Rebecca Curtis4118.003.88
Alan Fleming3126.007.63
Jamie Snowden1118.005.00
T J Taaffe1119.005.63
Keiran Burke1116.504.06
Ian Williams11112.007.50
Venetia Williams 10 0 1 -10.00 -8.75


Recent winners have been spread amongst the training ranks, but may be worth noting any Nicky Henderson runners with one winner and five other placed horses from twenty runners in the past ten years and last season's winning training Alan Fleming has also had a place return from just three runners.

Tips from the OLBG forum on the Close Brothers Novices Chase

OLBG member ”Luke90” likes the look of Rather Be:

"2 from 3 over fences and had clear excuses for his defeat at Plumpton. He won't mind the ground and is completely unexposed. Both Any Second Now & De Plotting Shed have yet to win over fences & Barney Dwan may struggle in this ground. Testify although top weight looks the main danger."

Join in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase discussion with OLBG members on the forum.

After this race we can look forward to another fantastic days racing on day two. For our preview of all the races head to Cheltenham tips day two