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The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup Tips (4:50pm)

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The Grand Annual Chase is a Grade Three was previously run on the new course over an extended two miles, but having been switched to a new day on the festival means it now is run on the sharper old course. It is over a trip slightly shorter than two miles which will present a unique challenge to the horses that are usually aimed at this. Last years’ winner Chose Mate was the first novice to win the race since 2013 and no horse has won this race twice since 1959.

Ideally you want a horse on your side that has endured no more than four previous runs in the season and more specifically has had a break of at least fifty days coming into the race. Trainers seem to specifically want their horses coming into this fresh. Three twelve-year-olds have won this race in the past, but it tends to be a once in a generation occurrence. History suggests it may be quite some time before we see the heroics of Croco Bay being repeated quite so soon. Horses rated between 138 and 147 have done best in the race over the last decade with Le Prezien being the only horse rated 150 to win in recent times.

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Runners

I shall provide some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

Dinoblue (140)

Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Luke Dempsey

Has ultimately disappointed on her two most recent starts as a beaten favourite. The most recent run came at Naas where she was firmly put in her place by Magic Daze who could re-oppose here. This would be her first step into handicap company and it is worth remembering she folded tamely here last season when trailing in only ninth behind Love Envoi. She cannot be backed with any real confidence here.

Andy Dufresne (155)

Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Mark Walsh

His form this year has been absolutely deplorable but his best effort last year came in this very race where he found Global Citizen too strong. He gets in off the same mark here, but he would have had to be in better form in order to go for him. There look to be others in here with equal if not better chances this time around and unfortunately he looks like one to swerve this time around.

Final Orders (150)

Trainer: Gavin Cromwell
Jockey: Keith Donoghue

What a winning machine he has proved to be for Gavin Cromwell. Undefeated in his last five starts, he has been raised twenty pounds in the ratings since November. Wins at Down Royal followed by two further at Leopardstown prove he is a warrior. Before getting carried away there are a few negatives around his chances here. Firstly, he has never been to Cheltenham before, he has had a gruelling season and only one last time out winner has won this race in the last decade. With a career high mark to defy also thrown into the equation there has to be doubts.

Third Time Lucky (149)

Trainer: Dan Skelton
Jockey: Harry Skelton

Back to form when winning at Sandown last month in the Dolos Handicap Chase. beating the likes of Fast Buck and Red Rookie. He was clearly taking advantage of a falling handicap mark and that will now be on the way back up again. He is somewhat of a course and distance specialist having won here twice in the past. On that basis he is expected to make his presence felt and could well shake up a few of these rivals.

Coeur Sublime (153)

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Jockey: Ben Harvey

Trailed in a disappointing seventh in last years’ Arkle behind Edwardstone but has been kept in graded company ever since. He was turned over when odds on favourite last time out at Naas and now drops into handicap company for the first time ever. He will need to improve dramatically for that last run in order to get involved. He looks high enough in the ratings at the moment and makes no appeal.

Before Midnight (143)

Trainer: Sam Thomas
Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies

A remarkably consistent sort that we have become used to see Sam Thomas train. He has produced three solid runs this year including twice at Ascot and then at Doncaster when third to Malystic. He is a previous course winner here and has been kept fresh in order to go for this race. His claims are hard to deny and he commands respect in this sort of company.

Elixir Du Nutz (147)

Trainer: Joe Tizzard
Jockey: Brendan Powell

Was a really good hurdler here back in 2018 where he won at back to back meetings. He has struggled somewhat since going chasing particularly at this track. He pulled up in this very race last season and looks best to ignore. Whilst he has come back to form in his last couple of runs, they were on flatter tracks including Newbury and Wincanton. They are less undulating and that is what he is best suited to now.

Global Citizen (139)

Trainer: Ben Pauling
Jockey: Luca Morgan

The winner of this race last year will have to improve on a tame finish at Wincanton last time out where he finished last of four runners after a near four-month break despite being upped in grade. He obviously has winning course and distance experience which stands him in good stead and older horses are faring better in this race now. He is back down on an attractive looking mark. He bids to be the first horse since Top Twenty in 1958/59 to win back to back renewals.

Malystic (149)

Trainer: Peter Niven
Jockey: Danny McMenamin

Trailed home last of four in the Game Spirit Chase last time out in what was a particularly underwhelming performance and not sure to reverse form with Elixir Du Nutz. He pulled up in the Paddy Power Chase here back in the autumn and that is his only previous experience of the track. At this stage he doesn’t scream out that he is well handicapped and he seems best suited to flatter tracks.

A Wave Of The Sea (148)

Trainer: Joseph O'Brien
Jockey: Simon Torrens

Although he hinted at a return to form at the Dublin Racing Festival where he was placed behind the re-opposing Final Orders, he has been to this Festival three times before and has never looked like winning. He was ninth in this last year and he can probably only hope for a similar position this time around.

Thyme White (147)

Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden

Has run in two previous festival handicaps including the Boodles Juvenile and County Hurdles where he made no impression whatsoever. He comes here fresh which is a positive and was previously in good form when picking up a win earlier in the year at Ascot. Paul Nicholls landed this with Le Prezien five years ago. This seven-year-old looks to have it all to do though.

Epson Du Houx (147)

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Jockey: Rachael Blackmore

Comes into this on the back of a two month break and he has been slowly working his way back to form this season. Was not disgraced behind Energumene in December and was then placed in a competitive handicap at Fairyhouse. Older horses than him have won this and he has to be respected given that he is a winner of two previous big field handicaps.

Midnight Run (146)

Trainer: Joseph O'Brien
Jockey: Bryan Cooper

Was out of his depth when thrusted into Grade One company last time out trailing in last of five behind Saint Roi in the Racing Post Novices’ Chase at Leopardstown. With his sights firmly lowered here he should relish the step back into handicap company. Bryan Cooper has won on him previously in what was a weak Grade Two race (as the form has not worked out since.) Not out of this by any stretch of the imagination.

Dads Lad (145)

Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Brian Hayes

A winning machine compared to a few of these and more importantly has previous course and distance winning form. He was no match for I Like To Move It here in November, but his previous win came a month earlier when beating Effernock Fizz here in a small field handicap. He has been given a break of almost four months and he will be fresh enough and that could be a problem as he has never won after a break before.

Call Me Lyreen (145)

Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Sam Ewing

Seems to have struggled for form this year and struggled at the Festival last year when beaten over sixteen lengths by State Man in the County Hurdle. Others have more obvious claims given that he is still badly handicapped.

Dancing On My Own (144)

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Jockey: JJ Slevin

Beaten a combined distance of over eighty lengths in just two races this season. He has clearly lost all sense of his form that saw him gain a win at Wexford over hurdles and a chase win at Killarney. Seems to be regressing with each outing and easily overlooked.

Battleoverdoyen (144)

Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Jordan Gainford

Is without a win in almost two years, but his mark is falling as a consequence. He is a former Grade One winner in his youth and last time out he hinted that he could be returning to form when third to Rebel Gold at Naas. The issue for him is that it was just a few weeks ago and this may come a bit too quick. If he puts it all together he has strong claims but it’s a big “if”.

Maskada (142)

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Jockey: Darragh O'Keefe

The British handicapper looks to have given her no chance as he has raised her a pound for finishing eleventh in a handicap that was won by the Goffer at the Dublin Racing Festival last month. Still early days for her as she has only been with Henry De Bromhead for a handful of starts. There will be brighter days ahead back home.

Sizing Pottsie (140)

Trainer: David Pipe
Jockey: Jack Tudor

Was plainly out of his depth when beaten forty lengths by Editeur Du Gite in a Grade One last time out. He was a winner on debut for this yard back in November but things have not gone so well since. The handicapper has given him a real chance off a mark of just 140 and if back to anywhere near his best, he could probably go very close. Could well be a plot job and no surprise to see him run well.

The Last Day (139)

Trainer: Evan Williams
Jockey: Adam Wedge

Seems to be better suited by flatter tracks such as Aintree given that his last two wins came there. He is attempting to win this off what is a career high mark and will probably struggle. He was only fifth in a routine handicap at Sandown last time and that certainly is not good enough. Hard to make a case for.

Ante Post Prices

5/1 Andy Dufresne, 11/2 Dinoblue, 6/1 Final Orders, 10/1 Coeur Sublime, 10/1 Third Time Lucki, 10/1 Dads Lad, 12/1 Thyme White, 14/1 Elixir De Nutz, 16/1 Global Citizen, 16/1 Before Midnight, 16/1 Epson Du Houx, 20/1 Sizing Pottsie, 20/1 Midnight Run, 20/1 Call Me Lyreen, 25/1 The Last Day, 25/1 Maskada, 33/1 Battleoverdoyen, 33/1 Dancing On My Own, 33/1 Malystic, 33/1 A Wave Of The Sea

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Key Trends

10 of the past 14 winners were novices or second season chasers.

11 of the past 18 winners were aged between 6 & 8.

9 of the last 12 winners were rated between 138 & 147

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Tips

GLOBAL CITIZEN is only three pounds higher than when landing this last year and he looks to be coming back to some form. This race is so unique in nature that horses who run in it the previous year tend to do so well the following year too. Andy Dufresne is still on the same mark that he was beaten off last year so looks opposable. Big runs could also come from the Gigginstown pair of Epson Du Houx and Midnight Run.

Selection: Global Citizen E/W

by Karl Hedley @Tumbleweed King
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  • StevieDay1983 changed the title to The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup Tips (4:50pm)

Key stats

0 wins in last 6 races, 6 from 50, profit 112 points at SP. Remainder 3 from 135, loss 99 points.

Not in the top 12 in the betting, 5 from 56, profit 103 points.

This leaves



Back each way 6 places

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