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Cheltenham Festival

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Festival Handicap Chase 2020 Racecard

The Festival Trophy Handicap Chase is a Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase handicap which takes place each year during the Cheltenham Festival in March, and is one of the big betting races on day one of the meeting. Open to horses aged five years or older, the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about three miles and one furlong (3 miles 1 furlong), with 20 fences to be jumped.

2:50

Tuesday 10 March

Distance: 25f 0y Age: 5yo + Prize: £110000 Going: Soft (Heavy in places)

FORM
ENTRY
SILK HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
ODDS

1
jockey silks 1. VINNDICATION (IRE)
J: David Bass
T: Kim Bailey
7
11-12
Boasts very strong novice form and he made his opening handicap mark look very lenient when readily scoring over 3m at Ascot in November. Up 8 lb but still unexposed at staying trips so a big player.
55 stars

2
jockey silks 2. BRAVE EAGLE (IRE)
J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
8
11-10
Made it 4-5 over fences when scoring at Uttoxeter last June. Badly hampered when never dangerous in Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury only run since. Capable of better but best form shown on good ground.
33 stars

3
jockey silks 3. CEPAGE (FR)
J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Venetia Williams
8
11-8
Excellent runs in defeat first 2 starts this term before gaining deserved win here, posting very smart effort in the process. Gutsy sort but this step up in trip under these conditions is a worry.
33 stars

4
jockey silks 4. VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE)
J: Ryan Mania
T: Sue Smith
10
11-4
Back to best when wide-margin winner of Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock but hiked 11 lb and well below par there since. Placed in the last two runnings of this contest but a career best is required now.
33 stars

5
jockey silks 5. MISTER MALARKY
J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr.
T: Colin Tizzard
7
11-4
Likeable novice chaser last term, winner of Grade 2 at Ascot, and right back to best when landing Grade 3 Kempton handicap last month. Up 4 lb but still one for the shortlist now he's back on song.
33 stars

6
jockey silks 6. KILDISART (IRE)
J: Daryl Jacob
T: Ben Pauling
8
11-3
Relished 3m when landing Grade 3 handicap at Aintree last spring and step back in the right direction behind Mister Malarky at Kempton last time. Cheekpieces go on and he looks interesting.
33 stars

7
jockey silks 7. DISCORAMA (FR)
J: B. J. Cooper
T: Paul Nolan, Ireland
7
11-1
Smart chaser who found 20f insufficient when only third back over hurdles at Limerick in December. Has a very good record here and had wind op/goes tongue tied, so no surprise to see him bounce back.
33 stars

8
jockey silks 8. WHO DARES WINS (IRE)
J: Tom Cannon
T: Alan King
8
11-0
Smart stayer on Flat who has taken really well to fences and posted gutsy victory in Grade 2 novice at Kempton last time with cheekpieces refitted. Posted fast time too so interesting back up in trip.
44 stars

9
jockey silks 9. ATLANTA ABLAZE
J: Tom O'Brien
T: Henry Daly
9
10-12
Pair of listed chase wins last season and landed another at Market Rasen on return. That was a gruelling race and probably found next Aintree run coming too soon. Freshened up/had wind op since.
33 stars

10
jockey silks 10. ACTIVIAL (FR)
J: Jonathan Burke
T: Tom George
10
10-12
Smart chaser who won at Haydock last season but failed to complete back there in November and faced stiff task at Newbury last time. Lot more needed here.
22 stars

11
jockey silks 11. MULCAHYS HILL (IRE)
J: A. P. Heskin
T: Warren Greatrex
8
10-11
Useful chaser who made a winning return in 3m novice here in October but had wind op and refitted with cheekpieces when below par last time. Others more persuasive.
22 stars

12
jockey silks 12. BURBANK (IRE)
J: Jeremiah McGrath
T: Nicky Henderson
8
10-11
Made all to land 22.5f Newbury novice handicap over Christmas. Unable to dominate off 11 lb higher in Doncaster handicap only subsequent run and assessor has given him little respite.
33 stars

13
jockey silks 13. COGRY
J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
11
10-10
Recorded his fourth course win with a typically game front-running display in December and ran another good race here when runner-up off 4 lb higher since. Gutsy veteran who is highly respected.
33 stars

14
jockey silks 14. TOWNSHEND (GER)
J: Jamie Neild
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
9
10-9
Useful chaser for Willie Mullins who turned in best effort for some time when scoring at Huntingdon last April. Followed up at Ascot on return 9 months later but this demands a big step forward.
33 stars

15
jockey silks 15. COBRA DE MAI (FR)
J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
8
10-9
Course winner who has been brought along steadily this term, claimer ridden and without headgear when running-on sixth in Doncaster listed chase last time. Back on winning mark so worth considering.
33 stars

16
jockey silks 16. BIG RIVER (IRE)
J: Derek Fox
T: Lucinda Russell
10
10-8
Can make mistakes but finished strongly when fourth in this and fifth in Scottish National last spring. First completed start this term when scoring at Kelso but this is much tougher up 4 lb.
33 stars

17
jockey silks 17. THE CONDITIONAL (IRE)
J: Brendan Powell
T: David Bridgwater
8
10-6
Much improved for new yard, C&D winner before second in Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. Failed to stay having gone well long way in 3m5f Warwick Grade 3 since so must enter calculations dropped 3 lb.
33 stars

18
jockey silks 18. ELWOOD (FR)
J: L. P. Dempsey
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
6
10-6
Off the mark over fences in Thurles maiden and good placed efforts since upped in class in Graded events at Naas and Navan. Bit more needed off this mark back in handicap though. Cheekpieces go on.
33 stars

19
jockey silks 19. SOUPY SOUPS (IRE)
J: Robert Dunne
T: Neil Mulholland
9
10-5
Back to winning ways in handicap at Perth and has backed it up with good seconds at Fontwell and Wincanton. Has plenty more on his plate here though.
33 stars

20
jockey silks 20. QUARENTA (FR)
J: Harry Cobden
T: Jonjo O'Neill
8
10-4
Largely progressive over fences, pulling out a bit more when narrowly denied in 3m Kempton handicap over Christmas. Turned in a modest effort at Doncaster since however so needs to bounce back.
33 stars

21
jockey silks 21. NO COMMENT
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Philip Hobbs
9
10-4
Useful chaser but below-form fifth at Newbury before falling at Leopardstown. Well treated at his best and may still do better but he needs to here.
33 stars

22
jockey silks 22. GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE)
J: Non Runner
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
11
9-13
NON RUNNER.

23
jockey silks 23. VIVAS (FR)
J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Charlie Longsdon
9
9-11
Took advantage of reduced mark at Warwick on return but not in the same form subsequently. 3 lb out of the handicap too so others are a lot more persuasive.
22 stars

24
jockey silks 24. ICE COOL CHAMPS (IRE)
J: Adam Wedge
T: Kerry Lee
9
9-10
Capable if patchy record for previous stable but back on track after a wind op when opening chase account for new yard at Wetherby. Poor effort at Exeter only subsequent start so has it prove now.
22 stars

Analyst's Verdict

A case can be made for plenty but the most persuasive one is for VINNDICATION, who had long given the impression the step up to 3m would suit when scoring at Ascot and he can shrug aside a 9 lb rise to follow up. Who Dares Wins is another who will benefit from going up in trip so rates a big threat, while Kildisart and Cobra de Mai look primed for bold showings too and can make the frame.

In 2011, the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase was run as the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase to highlight the work done by the charity Spinal Research.

Spinal Research is the UK’s leading charity funding medical research around the world to develop effective treatments for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

The Stewart family in question is that of racehorse owner Andy Stewart who has enjoyed plenty of success as an owner at the Cheltenham Festival, his winners including the multiple Stayers’ Hurdle winner Big Buck’s who wore Stewart’s familiar red and white halved silks.

Stewart’s son Paul was told he would never walk again after breaking his back after getting caught up in an avalanche while snowboarding in the Alps in 2008.

Stewart Snr has never won the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase, but Lizzie Kelly became the 12th women to ride a winner at the Cheltenham Festival when guiding the well-supported 5/1 favourite Coo Star Sivola to victory in the race in 2018.

Winners of the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase often go on to run in the Grand National, although not always in the same year. Horses to have achieved victory in both events include Royal Tan, Team Spirit, West Tip, Seagram and Rough Quest.

Three horses have won the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase twice - Sentina in 1957 and 1958, Scot Lane in 1982 and 1983, and Un Temps Pour Tout in 2016 and 2017.

The last-named was ridden by Tom Scudamore , who, along with Robert Thornton, has won the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase on three occasions.

Thornton’s wins in the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase include Kelami , successful in 2005, who is the only French-trained winner of the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase.

In terms of Timeform ratings this century, Coo Star Sivola’s smart performance was actually one of the lesser winning efforts, rated 2 lb lower than the iconic Festival Trophy Handicap Chase victory of Wichita Lineman in 2009.

The well-backed favourite Wichita Lineman had been pushed along for over a circuit by the legendary AP McCoy , but stayed on best of all up the hill to collar Maljimar in the dying strides and win by a neck.

The ride is considered one of the best of all time, and is fondly remembered by McCoy in his 2011 book My Autobiography. "It was only after we crossed the winning line that I was aware of the noise coming from the stands. It was probably one of the better rides that I have given any horse; in fact I'd say that in my own little head I thought it was probably the best ride I have ever given a horse."

Un Temps Pour Tout, winner of the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase in 2016 and 2017, has produced the best winning performances in recent years, his most recent effort was classified as ‘High Class’ by Timeform, and would have been good enough for a fourth-placed finish in the same year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Though Fred Rimell and Fulke Walwyn both won the race four times many decades ago, the most successful Festival Trophy Handicap Chase trainer in recent times is David Pipe, who has won it three times, with: An Accordion (2008), and Un Temps Pour Tout (2016, 2017).

The most successful Festival Trophy Handicap Chase jockey in recent times are Tom Scudamore and Robert Thornton , who have both won it three times.

Scudamore’s wins were all on the David Pipe-trained runners listed above, while Thornton’s success came with: Fork Lightning (2004), Kelami (2005), and Bensalem (2011).

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Festival Handicap Chase 2020 FAQs

What is the distance of the Festival Handicap Chase?

3 miles and 1 furlong

How many obstacles are jumped in the Festival Handicap Chase?

20

What day of the festival is the Festival Handicap Chase?

Day 1

What time is the Festival Handicap Chase?

14:50

What weights are carried for the Festival Handicap Chase?

As it is a traditional National Hunt handicap steeplechase, weights range from 11 st 12 lb for the top weight, to 10 st for the bottom weight.

What is the purse for the Festival Handicap Chase?

£110,000 (2020)

Who is the leading jockey in the Festival Handicap Chase*?

Tom Scudamore and Robert Thornton

Who is the leading trainer in the Festival Handicap Chase*?

David Pipe

Who won the Festival Handicap Chase?

You can check out our Festival Handicap Chase results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the Festival Handicap Chase?

Click the link to visit our Festival Handicap Chase Odds Comparison page.

*Since 1977

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