- 1:30 Supreme Novices Hurdle
- 2:10 Arkle Chase
- 2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase
- 3:30 Champion Hurdle
- 4:10 Mares Hurdle
- 4:50 National Hunt Chase Cup
- 5:30 Close Brothers Novices Chase
- 1:30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle
- 2:10 RSA Chase
- 2:50 Coral Cup
- 3:30 Queen Mthr Champion Chase
- 4:10 Cross Country Chase
- 4:50 Fred Winter H'Cap Hurdle
- 5:30 Champion Bumper
- 1:30 JLT Novices Chase
- 2:10 Pertemps Final Hurdle
- 2:50 Ryanair Chase
- 3:30 Stayers Hurdle
- 4:10 Brown Advisory Plate
- 4:50 Mares Novices Hurdle
- 5:30 Kim Muir Chase Cup
Close Brothers Novice Chase Tips - 5.30pm Cheltenham
2019 PREVIEW DUE by MARCH 5th-10th
Often a very tight handicap with very few pounds between top and bottom, the class of the race has actually been raised by 5lbs so it’s now a 0-145 contest. In the past some decent horses have missed the boat by being rated a couple of pounds too high so the change should help those horses and increase the quality at the same time.
The Irish won it last year to end a losing run stretching 8 years with Tully East and they look to have a strong team again. Gordon Elliott saddles De Plotting Shed who has been brought along steadily since going over fences. The 8yo has had four starts and finished second in three of them.
Elliott has been a bit shrewd here by running him over a trip too short and it’s interesting that he has been fitted with a tongue-tie the last twice which has showed some improvement. I suspect a step up to 20f on better ground will see him out run his mark of 143 and that puts him in with every chance.
Elliott also saddles Tycoon Prince who runs in the Gigginstown colours, the 8yo won well at Leopardstown over Christmas but then last time out fell behind Footpad when beaten at the time. He now goes up in trip and connections will hope that will bring about some improvement.
Any Second Now is another worth a second look. Trainer Ted Walsh has the 6yo bang on the top limit of 145 and has a very similar profile to that of De Plotting Shed. He too has had four starts without a win and been placed runner up three times. The last twice he has chased home Footpad over a shorter trip in Grade 1 races, including at Leopardstown when never really seen with a chance.
Luckily for connections the handicapper has kept on the same mark thus enabling him to run here.
Nicky Henderson won this race back 2013 and has a decent chance with his 7yo Rather Be. He won a Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Aintree last April and has been showing signs of running up to that mark over the bigger obstacles. He won by 17 lengths last time out at Fakenham over the minimum trip and could well improve over this longer distance.
Stable mate Divine Spear let his supporters down at Musselburgh last time out, he was long odds-on favourite but could only manage second spot behind Delegate. He had earlier looked quite useful when beating Exitas by 10 lengths at Ascot. He has dropped a couple of pounds in the handicap as a result of his defeat and looks to be the yards second string.
Another horse to keep an eye on is Barney Dwan for Fergal O’Brien, who was a good second in the Pertemps Final last season. He has run off a mark of 148 over hurdles and is 5lbs lower here so a horse with a bit of scope maybe.
He has won his last two races at Market Rasen and Musselburgh and although he has been kept to a lower level over fences he looks capable of stepping up in class. Connections think a lot of this horse and as long as he keeps his jumping together he can go close here.
Top weight goes to Testify trained by Donald McCain, he has won all of his three starts this season and gone up 10lbs in the process. Owned by Trevor Henmmings who often pops in a winner at big odds so dont be afraid of supportng this improving 7yo. He has won two races on heavy ground so conditions have come in his favour.
Flat trainer Mick Channon wouldnt have had many Cheltenham runners in his career but saddles Mister Whitaker here and will be ridden by Brian Hughes. The 6yo has come along nicely this season and won here over 2m5f last time out, he went up 8lbs for that effort an that enables him to get in here. He obviously needs to keep improving but jumps well and is in form.
Punters Lounge Tip: Testify EW 14/1 at Bet365 - Click Here To Bet
Close Brothers Novices Chase Runners
Close Brothers Chase Trends
|9/10 Favourites||Have been beaten|
|8/10 Winners||Trained in Britain|
|9/10 Winners||Rated 135 or higher|
|8/10 Winners||Were aged bewteen 6 and 8|
|8/10 Winners||Won over 2m4f at least|
|8/10 Winners||Finished in first 3 last time out|
|7/10 Winners||Had won 1 or 2 previous chases|
|7/10 Winners||Carried 11st 4lbs or more|
|6/10 Winners||Making handicap debut|
|6/10 Winners||Never reached frame in Graded or Listed hurdle|
Close Brothers Chase Previous Winners
|2018||Mister Whitaker||6||Brian Hughes||Mick Channon||13/2|
|2017||Tully East||7||Alan Fleming||Denis O'Regan||8/1|
|2016||Ballyalton||9||Ian Williams||Brian Hughes||12/1|
|2015||Irish Cavalier||6||Rebecca Curtis||Paul Townend||11/1|
|2014||Present View||6||Jamie Snowden||Brendan Powell||8/1|
|2013||Rajdhani Express||6||Nicky Henderson||Sam Waley-Cohen||16/1|
|2012||Hunt Ball||7||Keiran Burke||Nick Scholfield||13/2|
|2011||Divers||7||Ferdy Murphy||Graham Lee||10/1|
|2010||Copper Bleu||8||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson||12/1|
|2009||Chapoturgeon||5||Paul Nicholls||Timmy Murphy||8/1|