Close Brothers Novices Tips and Betting

Close Brothers Novices 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 Trends

The last 10 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.

12/12were sent off no bigger than 20/1
12/12had previously won in at least a Class 3
12/12had made 3-8 starts in the past year
12/12had previously won 2-7 races
12/12ran off no bigger than 14/1 last time out
12/12ran in a 3-13 runner chase last time out


OLBG blogger Micko70 has written a blog on this race. Check out his his trends based blog here.

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 Trainer Statistics

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

TrainerNumber of runnersWinsOther Placed HorsesWin LSPEach Way LSP
Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase Top Trainers
N Henderson1814-1.009.75
P Nicholls1411-5.00-5.75
P Hobbs11112.00-0.50
V Williams1001-10.00-8.75
JJ ONeill902-9.00-5.38
C Longsdon801-8.00-6.50
N Twiston Davies702-7.005.38
T George702-7.001.25
D Pipe701-7.00-2.38
N Gifford403-4.001.81
A King400-4.00-4.00
R Curtis3109.004.88
W Mullins201-2.000.50
I Williams11012.007.50
J Snowden1108.005.00


Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase Preview

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 five years has carried more than that amount.

It is worth noting that a horse with the highest rating has won this race for three of the last five years.

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

Tips from the OLBG forum on the CLose Brothers Novices CHase

OLBG member Teddyt likes the chances of a horse from a small stable in the last race on Day 1:

I’ve been really impressed by the jumping of CAPTAIN REDBEARD at tricky fencing tracks like Haydock and Wetherby and he could still be an underrated horse. Trainer Stuart Coltherd makes no secret about how highly he rated his charge and the horse showed great tenacity to get back in the final strides to beat Aqua Dude at Haydock with the pair twenty lengths clear of the third. Due to be ridden by five pound claimer Sam Coltherd and with the weights so compressed for this race his claim could be extremely valuable. The young jockey went head to head with Sam Twiston-Davies in that short-head victory at Haydock and looks good value for his claim.

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