17:30 Cheltenham Fri 16 March 2018
- Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1)
- 2m 62y, Soft (Heavy in places)
- 22 Runners
- Surface: Turf
Very smart chaser who isn't easy to place given his handicap mark and comes here off a break for a yard that have been rather quiet this year. Has won off a mark this high but won't find this easy and hard to dominate in a field this big.
Has twice run well in this race finishing third in 2016 and winning it last year off a 6lb lower mark. He's yet to really fire this season but it would be no surprise to see him show more zip in a race such as this.
Has been at his best this year winning three of his five starts and looking as though he was back to his best last time off a 4lb lower mark. Held off an unexposed rival last time but this is a tougher task if he tries to dominate.
Won twice over fences for Nicky Henderson and his current campaign looks geared towards this race off a falling mark. Not seen that much in handicaps of late and now below his last winning mark; interesting contender having had a wind operation.
Shown that he can handle this course and runs here instead of the Arkle after a below par run last time out. Previous form suggests that he can run well off a good mark in his first handicap chase and novices have run well before in this.
Won in Graded company here as a novice and his handicap form on his first two starts would give him a chance here although his jumping will be given an examination. Never won a handicap and will find it tough to start now.
Progressed well last year ending with a Punchestown win off a mark of 144 but this year his form has proved well below that mark. Not one to write off too readily though given his connections and this may have been the plan all along.
Not quite as good as he once was (has won in much higher grade than this) and below his recent best last time behind stablemate Gino Trail. The handicapper has given him some further relief but would need to show more zip than of late.
Connections have been very patient with him as he returned from a massive absence to run with credit behind the Champion Chase winner at Newbury. Capable of smart form before his time off and respected off a potentially lenient mark.
His hurdles form was useful despite only winning twice and he produced his most solid piece of chase form last time in his first handicap going down narrowly to Gino Trail. Travels strongly and remains with potential on what looks a workable mark.
Well beaten in this race last year, he now has to run off a 6lb higher mark although he has won since in lesser company. Ran with credit when last seen over C&D off this mark but looks to face a tough test off this mark.
Always a fascinating character and you are never sure what you are going to get with him although he showed up well under tender handling when last seen around here. Now had a wind operation and arrives off a mark that has slipped below his best.
Fortunate winner of the Irish Arkle, he's shown nothing like that form since and fell when last seen. Would need to step up on what he's shown of late although his penultimate start did give some hope.
Ran the race of his career last time, perked up by the first-time cheekpieces at Leopardstown. Have to question if the headgear will work as well again and has to cope with a 7lb higher mark in a tough heat.
Most of his recent form is rather modest having shown some useful form over hurdles and in the early part of his chase career. Recent run in a big field handicap over 2m1f was better though (given plenty to do); may do better with that behind him.
Has looked more of his old self lately after a brush with the National fences that didn't appear to suit. No doubt that will have helped his confidence but has looked vulnerable off marks in the 140s before and this is a stronger contest.
Has enjoyed himself around here in the past winning twice last year under positive rides, jumping well on both occasions. Hasn't been able to repeat that form of late and will find it hard to dominate a field of this size facing pace pressure.
Versatile chaser who has run well at the Festival before without winning and can look a tricky ride. Not seen to best effect last time and comes here a fresh horse with the handicapper giving him some help; could surprise on a going day.
The only entry for this stable he's been a long way from his best this year and was only beaten a couple of lengths from this mark last year. Previous form in this race gives him a chance to bounce back although better ground would be preferred.
Hurdles form always suggested that he would make a chaser and he got off to a winning start. Beaten in two races since he proved disappointing last time out and not for the first time finishing weakly and looking an awkward ride; others appeal more.
Quirky customer who was consistent enough last season but after a reasonable return here appears to be regressing. Has refused to race this year and not one to trust especially in Festival atmosphere where he could boil over.
C&D winner here in November off a 4lb lower mark who then attempted to cash in off his lower hurdles mark unsuccessfully. Not out of this back over fences and has a place chance on his best form.
Last Year's Winner
|Rock The World||9||11-5||10/1|
|T: Mrs J HarringtonJ: R M Power|
North Hill Harvey (7/1), Le Prezien (15/2), Top Gamble (8/1), Bouvreuil (10/1), Don't Touch It (11/1), Three Stars (12/1), Theinval (16/1), Dolos (16/1), Vaniteux (16/1), Townshend (16/1), Dresden (16/1), Doitforthevillage (20/1), Rock The World (20/1), Foxtail Hill (20/1), Forest Bihan (20/1), Some Plan (20/1), Gino Trail (25/1), Born Survivor (25/1), Garde La Victoire (25/1), Valdez (25/1), Eastlake (33/1), The Game Changer (33/1), Sizing Platinum (50/1), Bright New Dawn (66/1)
- North Hill Harvey
- Don't Touch It
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