The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup is a grade 3 handicap chase, run over 2M ½F, and is the closing race of the Festival. It had previously been a good race for punters with the majority of the winners coming from the top of the market, though recent shocks, including Oiseau De Nuit springing at 40/1 in 2011, had turned it the way of the bookies. Last year Alderwood struck a blow for the punters, as the festival ended on a good note for favourite backers. Hopefully by this stage we’ll be playing up winnings instead of chasing losses.
Below we take a look at the trends for the past 10 renewals:
The ages of winners have been fairly evenly spread out. 5 year olds have done well since 2003, gaining 1 win and 4 places from 8 runners, however they had previously receive a 4lb weight allowance which has now been scrapped.
Only one horses aged 10+ has won this in past 10 years and that was Tiger Cry, who had finished runner-up in the race 2 years earlier.
Irish Bred: 5-10-77
French Bred: 3-10-78
British Bred: 1-6-40
German Bred: 1-2-6
USA bred: 0-2-8
NZ bred: 0-1-2
8 of 10 winners were French or Irish bred, though they represented almost 74% of total runners.
All 5 Irish-trained winners were aged 8 to 10.
The three German bred 8yos to run in this finished 3rd-2nd-1st
Horses carrying 10-12 or more: 1-12-67
Horses carrying 10-11 or less: 9-18-145
10 of 10 winners carried 10-13 or less and so are heavily favoured.
Top Weight: U9FF4P2RF5 (0-2-10)
Horses rated 140 or higher: 2-11-74
Horses rated 129 to 139: 8-19-132
Horses rated 128 or lower: 0-0-4
8 of 10 winners were officially rated 129 to 139. Both winners rated 140+ had been placed in previous season’s Red Rum H’cap Chase and had posted a career high RPR of 153+ on latest outing.
In the past 3 years 11 of 12 places were filled by horses rated 136 or higher.
9 of 10 winners finished in first 3 on their last completed chase start (exception unplaced in a grade 2)
9 of 10 winners had run 1 to 5 times since August
9 of 10 winners had run in past 45 days
9 of 10 winners had previously run in 4 to 12 chases
8 of 10 winners had run in 4 or fewer handicap chases (6 had run in 0 or 1 h'cap chase)
7 of 10 winners had yet to win a handicap chase (2 of the 3 others had won just 1)
6 of 10 winners had finished in the first 3 in a graded chase (1 exception had finished 6th in previous Grand Annual on only graded chase start, 1 exception 6th G2 November Nov Ch on only graded chases start & 2 others had finished in first 3 in a grade 1 hurdle)
7 of 10 winners had won at Cheltenham (1 other was placed on both starts here))
8 of 10 winners had previously run at the Cheltenham Festival (only 1 had won)
From a combined 36 prior chase starts that season the 10 winners had finished outside the first 3 just 13 times (6 of which were failures to complete)
Previous Year's winner (Alderwood): 00459 (0-1-5)
Previous season's County Hurdle winner (Ted Veale): 1 (1-0-1)
Record of horses that ran November Novice Chase earlier that season: 58171 (2-0-5)
Horses that placed in previous Red Rum H;cap Chase: 901300PPR1B (2-1-11)
4 of 10 winners had previously run in the Grand Annual, finishing 6F2P
2 of 10 winners (last 2) ran in previous year's County Hurdle, finishing P1
2 of 10 winners ran in the Ascot Carey Group handicap chase, finishing 33
2 of 10 winners ran in Ascot Byrne Group Handicap chase, finishing 36
2 of 10 winners ran in previous season's Red Rum H'cap Chase, finishing 33
2 of 4 novice winners ran in Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novice Chase, finishing 4F
2 of 4 novice winners ran in November Novice Chase, finishing 26
5 of 10 winners were held up towards rear
4 of 10 winners raced in midfield
Only 1 of 10 winners race prominently
Nicky Henderson (2-8-32) won the race in 2006 and trained the runner-up in 2008, 2010 & 2013 and the third in 2009 and he saddled the 1st, 2nd & 4th in 2012. The race is named after his father and he certainly targets it.
Paul Nicholls (2-1-19) has also trained the winner twice in past 10 years.
Alan King (1-2-8), Colin Tizzard (1-1-5) & Nigel Twiston-Davies (1-1-7) have all saddled the winner and a placed finisher in the past 5 renewals.
David Pipe (0-2-6) has filled 2 places with his 7 runners.
Irish trained runners (3-4-29) have won 4 of the last 12 runnings. 3 of the last 5 Irish trained winners had run in a hurdle on their previous start (2 exceptions were novice chasers).
Previously this had been a very strong race for horses prominent in the betting with all 8 winners between 1998 & 2005 going off at 7/2 to 8/1. However since 2006 5 of the 8 winners went off at 20/1, 12/1, 16/1, 40/1 & 20/1.
Favourites (2-1-10) have made the places in just 2 of the last 10 renewals of this race and show a level stakes loss of 1.00.
Based on the trends from the past 10 years you are looking for a horse:
- Aged 5 to 9
- Carrying less than 11-0 (watch out for horses ridden by talented claimers)
- Officially rated 129 to 139 (or posted an RPR of 153+ last time)
- Finished in first 3 in last completed chase
- Had last outing in the past 45 days
- Had 4 to 12 previous chase starts
- Run in 4 or fewer handicap chases
- Previously won 0 or 1 handicap chase
- Finished in first 3 in a graded chase
- Previously won or placed at Cheltenham
- Ran in last year’s Grand Annual or County Hurdle
- Placed in the Carey Group and/or 2013 Red Rum H’cap Chase
- Ran in Royal Gloucestershire or November Novice Chase this season
- Tends to be held up
- Trained by Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson, Alan King or Nigel Twiston-Davies or
- Trained in Ireland and is a novice chaser or ran over hurdles last time