• Johnny Henderson

    Grand Annual Handicap Chase

    11 of the last 14 winners aged seven, eight or nine yrs.

    Last 13 rated between 136 and 152

    This century only three winners with more than 12 chase runs

    Ten from last 11 no more than four chase runs that season

    Only one conditional jockey winner this century

    Only two since 2004 to have already won a h'cap chase that season

    No repeat winners since 1959.

    Only three winners since 1997 older than nine years

    Only one novice winner since 2013. Chosen Mate in 2020.

    15 of the last 19 had run at a previous Festival

    Since 2006 previous year's returning favourite is three from ten.

    Only two winners this century had won a chase over further than 2m 3f

    Last 12 not seen out for at least 30 days


    Race Distance - 2 miles and about half a furlong. Numbers allowed to run cut from 24 to 20 in 2019.




    Winner will be aged 7, 8 or 9 years except if older will have been already been placed in this. Rated between 136 and 152. Either a course winner or ran at a previous Festival, or the trainer/jockey is having a good week. Novice not rated above 147. Should have finished in the first three in one of the last two starts or placed in this last year. Does not run under a penalty. Has not more than 12 previous runs over fences or previously placed in this. Won’t have run more than 4 times over fences since August. Irish-trained punch above their numbers. If English trained is a course winner, Henderson trained or placed in this before. Not ridden by a conditional jockey.  JP McManus very much involved but has been stung. Has won over the trip. Check for fancied horses in previous renewals. Not last year's winner. Unlikely to have won a handicap chase this season and h'cap mark has not moved up by much since Oct. May not have been seen for at least 30 days.

  • Honours Board

    Year ||| Form ||| Winner ||| Age ||| Weight ||| OR ||| SP ||| Trainer ||| Jockey ||| Last race (No of days)

    2023 ||| 4F10 ||| Maskada ||| 7 ||| 11-1 ||| 142 ||| 22/1 ||| H de Bromhead (IRE) ||| D O'Keefe ||| 11th Grade A 2m 5f Ch DRF (38)

    2022 ||| 92023 ||| Global Citizen ||| 10 ||| 10-6 ||| 136 ||| 28/1 ||| B Pauling ||| K Woods ||| 3rd 2m Lstd Hrdle Sandown (39)

    2021 ||| 25112 ||| Sky Pirate ||| 8 ||| 11-6 ||| 152 ||| 14/1 ||| JJ O'Neill ||| N Schofield ||| 2nd Warwick G2 Nov (31)

    2020 ||| P60341 ||| Chosen Mate ||| 7 ||| 11-4 ||| 147 ||| 7/2F ||| G Elliott (IRE) ||| D Russell ||| 1st Gowran Beginners (50)

    2019 ||| 2 ||| Croco Bay ||| 12 |||10-12 ||| 139 ||| 66/1 ||| B Case ||| K Woods ||| 2nd Warwick Cl3 H'cap (277)

    2018 ||| 238 ||| Le Prezien ||| 7 ||| 11-8 ||| 150 ||| 15/2 ||| P Nicholls ||| B Geraghty ||| 8th Chelt G3 Caspian Caviar H'cap 2m 5f (91)

    2017 ||| 22080 ||| Rock The World ||| 9 ||| 11-5 ||| 147 ||| 10/1 ||| J Harrington (IRE) ||| R Power ||| 11th Chelt Cl2 H'cap (146)

    2016 ||| 33P ||| Solar Impulse ||| 6 ||| 11-0 ||| 140 ||| 28/1 ||| P Nicholls ||| S Twiston-Davies ||| PU Exeter Cl2 Graduation 2m 1f (92)

    2015 ||| 604 ||| Next Sensation ||| 8 ||| 11-2 ||| 143 ||| 16/1 ||| M Scudamore ||| T Scudamore ||| 4th Newbury Cl2 H'cap (104)

    2014 ||| 3439 ||| Savello ||| 8 ||| 11-5 ||| 147 ||| 16/1 ||| A Martin (IRE) ||| D Russell ||| 9th F'house G3 Dan Moore (54)

  • Evidence

    AGE - Global Citizen 'led, prominent' joins Croco Bay, the a gallant 'always prominent' 12 yr old, to became the 5th winner of this of the last 25 to be aged 10ys or older. The Citizen was the only horse aged in double figures in 2022. And he was the only double-figure finisher last year, a gallant 3rd. Nothing older than 8 yrs in the first 11 home 2021. Four elders in 2020, Theinval 5th. Had been placed in this twice before. Croco and Gino Trail both unplaced at age 13 yrs. Six elder geldings in total tried in 2019, next best to Ben Case's old boy was ninth. In 2018 nine qualifiers, again Gino Trail an 11 yr old in 2nd and Top Gamble another Kerry Lee inmate and 10 yr old in third. In 2017 four ran best Croco Bay in 5th, only 10 yrs old then, but getting a sighter, obviously. Theme there? Global Citizen.


    2016 five ran best Savello (previous winner) in fourth. All unplaced going back to 2013 Oiseau De Nuit 2nd (previous winner). In both '12 and '11, 2 tried, Askthemaster. '09 best was Tramantano 4th at 33s (previously placed in a Greatwood Hurdle). In '08 Tiger Cry won at age 10, ’97 Uncle Ernie at 12 and in ’93 Space Fair at 10. Tiger Cry had been previously placed in this. Both Uncle Ernie and Space Fair had each achieved places in Arkle chases. Mind you, 86 from last 100 win and placed aged under 10 yrs.

    Placed ages last year went 7-6-11-8. 2022 10-8-7-8, 2021, 8-7-8-7. Only four runners aged older. In 2020 they were 7-6-7-6. There were only 7 aged under 8 yrs in the 18 strong field and 6 of them finished in the first seven. In Croco's year it was 12-8-8-8-8. In 2018 Le Prezien won as a seven yr old. He was the only six yr old in the 2017 field finishing 8th. Backed down to 7/2 fav. Dolos, also a Nicholls horse was the only five yr old in the 2018 version, 16/1, finished seventh. 2016 Solar Impulse, first 6 yr old since Oh Crick '09 and Edredon Bleu '98 (the latter under a gloriously mad front running AP ride).


    Palarshan '03 at 8/1 only 5 yr old winner since 1954.


    Alderwood was a 9 yr old, a novice and won the County the previous year..


    To summarise, all winners bar Solar Impulse (6yrs) Global Citizen and Croco Bay aged between 7 and 9 yrs in the last 14 renewals.


    IRISH TRAINED - Maskada, Chosen Mate, Rock The World, Savello, Alderwood, Tiger Cry '08, Fota Island ‘05, and Fadoudal Du Cochet '02 make it eight Irish trained winners in the last 22. Five of the last 11. 11 of the 19 strong field last year, Dinoblue 2nd. Seven of the 17 in 2022, best the fast finishing JP owned fav, Andy Dufrene. The first time I laid eyes on.... Embittered next best in 7th.


    Six ran in 2021, again the fast finishing JP owned Entoucas just failed to catch Sky Pirate. Next best was Cappucimix in 6th. Five ran in 2020 resulting in a 1-2 for Gordon Elliott. Eclair de Beaufeau 2nd with another Joseph O'Brien plot, Us and Them in 3rd. Only Minds Eye ran in 2019 for Henry de Bromhead, 7/1 PU after a bad mistake 4 out. Four ran in 2018, again best Henry de Bromhead's Three Stars in 5th.


    Arthur Moore's Dandridge was 4th in 2017 behind Rock The World, Jessica's 10/1 winner. In 2016, five Irish trained, Dandridge 8s 2nd and Rock The World 9/2 fav and 3rd. 2015 6 ran, best Ned Buntline, AP's final festival ride 4/1 jt fav and 4th. In 2014 4 ran - Irish 1-2, Savello the final leg of a Gigginstown 4 timer. Alderwood was the only Irish entry in his 2013 winning year, thumped down to 3/1 fav, defeat not being considered there. 2011 Askthemaster only Irish entry 2nd at 50/1. ’07 Ground Ball and ’06 Tiger Cry both placed.


    To summarise that's 8 winners and 15 placed from 84 runners in 22 years (that's 36% of winners, 25% of total places for about 20% of total runners. Sounds like a plan). Besides 2010 (when nobody came), in the last 22, the Irish trained 'race within a race' has been won by the most fancied one on 11 occasions. Not last year nor 2021, Joseph's other plot, Embittered, 9/2 fav 'going easily, fell 9th. Chosen Mate won at 7/2 fav. Arthur Moore trained 2 winners this century with Dandridge running well in successive years.


    Rock The World in 2017 was Jessica's third winner of the week and her first runner since winning the GC with Sizing John. Momentum? Robbie Power admitted later he 'had no idea where he was in the race. Just floated around.' One might say that H. de Bromhead was also still floating after Honeysuckle's final race.


    M/D. Pipe have yet to win this. 13 runners in past 15. Best has been Leo's Lucky Star 3rd 2011, Consigliere 3rd '10, Madison Du Berlais 3rd in ‘06. Sizing Pottsie, their first runner in five renewals PU last year. P Nicholls produced Solar Impulse to win this in 2016, his first win since Andreas 2007 (straight after Pacha won the Foxhunters. See Momentum Theory on General Trends page and first time blinkers). Le Prezien was his beaten fav in 2017, returns to win 2018. 2019 ran Brelan D'As 3rd at 8/1, Magic Saint fav and Le Prezien. 2020 Greaneteen 5/1 in 4th couldn't repel the Irish hordes, Capeland 14th. Two runners 2021, unplaced. 2022 Il Ridoto 18/1 and 8th. Last year Thyme White 28s, 'every chance when falling 2 out.'


    N Henderson has a decent recent record in the race named after his father. But no runner last three renewals. In 2020 Theinval his only runner at 10 yrs of age, 5th at 50/1. Whatwrongwithyou 7th 2019, Theinval 4th in 2018 at 16s and 3rd 2017 at 9s, again he was Nicky's only runner in each of those races. One unplaced in 2016. Kid Cassidy 2nd in 2013 from 6 (and shortest in price), 1-2 in 2012 from 6 runners. Bellvano was the fifth fancied of the 6. One of the great P Carberry rides. N Henderson has had three beaten favourites in the past 15 years. Both his winners since the name change were priced 20/1.


    9 of the last 13 English trained were course winners. Including Sky Pirate and Le Prezien but not Global Citizen or the three before them. I know, misleading. In 2020 Global Citizen had previously finished 4th to Put The Kettle On in the Arkle


    RETURNING WINNERS - Repeat success hasn't been achieved since Top Twenty in 1958/59. Might be the only one ever. This century nine winners have returned the next year. Their finishing position, most recent first. Last/9/9/14/BD/9/5/4/11/10/PU. Global Citizen last year, a very credible third at 12. 8 of past 17 had run in this race before winning. Maskada, Dinoblue, Third Time Lucki, Final Orders.


    JP McManus - Owned winners 2005, 2012, 2013, 2018. Also seconds in 2023, 2013, 2014, 2015 2021 2022 and 2023. Been unlucky recently, with Entoucas, Andy Dufresne and Dinoblue. Six others placed since 2003. Breslan D'As third 2019, 16 others unplaced over the last seven years including Andy last year, A Wave Of The Sea, Le Prezien, Champagne At Tara, Don't Touch It, and Bouvreuil who turned up in this most years. Entoucas his only runner 2021. 2020 two PU both 33s One was Great Field. Just before the 2020 race Jonjo was asked at a preview night if he thought Great Field was well handicapped. Replied 'well he can't be if they're moving him to me.'


    FORM - Apart from Maskada, 11th at the DRF, Global Citizen (PU Grade 2), Le Prezien (8th in 2m 5f course December H'cap chase), Rock The World (wind op after 11th in a course chase 141 days hence), Savello (9th in £50k Fairyhouse Ch) and Pigeon Island (5th of 5 at Warwick G2 Novice) every other winner since 1984 has finished in the first 4 on their latest completed chase start. That's six exceptions. Croco Bay had been 2nd, 227 days previously. Chosen Mate flew home in a Gowran Beginners. Sky Pirate 2nd of 4 to Allmankind in a Warwick G2 novice.


    22 of last 38 not outside first four on any completed run that season. Used to be a good stat. Not now. Not Maskada, Global Citizen, Sky Pirate had been a non staying 5th to Coole Cody in the Paddy Power. Three of the exceptions (including Chosen Mate) finished in the first 3 in their three previous runs. Rock The World' form figures before went 080. Le Prezien 238, See the Honours Board.

    25 from the last 28 top three in at least one of its last two starts. Maskadahas won a £23k Limerick Xmas Handicap.Not Rock The World, Next Sensation nor Pigeon Island. Both Rock and Next placed in this the year before they won.


    21 out of the last 28 no more than 4 times since August. Maskada (three) but again a stat gone over the last few years. Global Citizen, Sky Pirate 5 runs, Chosen Mate 6 runs. He had an unsuccessful crack at three of the big Irish h'cap hurdles before going novice chasing (other exceptions Oiseau de Nuit, Oh Crick, and Fota Island with 5, Nigel's Pigeon Island had 7 runs). 


    Maskada joins Sky Pirate to be the first since 2004 to have won that season anything other than a beginners or ungraded novices chase. No others had already won a handicap chase that season. Sky Pirate had won two including one on course in December! Hiding in plain sight you might say. Entoucas tried valiantly to keep the stat going but just didn't get there. Five others tried in 2021, best Ibleo in third. The Pirate first from 132 to succeed.


    Once Sky Pirate beat it, they all had a go in 2022. Nine of the 17, best Frero Banbou in 3rd. Last uear six tried, best Final Orders in 5th. Nine of the 18 strong field tried to kill it in 2020. Only two of them finished in the first seven home. Seven qualifiers in 2019, including 2nd, 5th, 6th home plus unplaced fav Magic Saint. Plots do win this. 


    Novices - Eight novice winners in the past 26 races but Chosen Mate the only one first since Alderwood 2013, Bellvano and Carberry in 2012. Three last year, best Dinoblue 2nd, Six came 2022, best Amarillo Sky in 5th. Five came in 2021 in resulting in a 2nd and a 5th. (and Embittered). Five came in 2020 resulting in 1-2-4-7. Four ran in each of the previous two years, best Brelan D'As 3rd, 2018 best Dolos in 7th, North Hill Harvey, fav, 2nd when challenging three out, fell. Three ran in 2017, best Theinval 3rd. Thenovice joint favourites finished 2nd and 3rd in 2014, winners in 2013 and 2012, '10 1st and 2nd, '09 1st and 3rd, ’08 My Petra fav and 2nd). 15 of the other 18 winners who were not novices had previously competed in a previous Festival chase Exceptions to all are Maskada, Savello and Edredon Bleu 7/2 fav. Last year Darragh O'Keefe had just parted company with Plan Of Atttack in the Cross Country. The jockeys concerned with the other two, Davy Russell and AP McCoy, were on fire that day or week.


    12 of the past 15 novices or second season chasers. This was Maskada's 11th chase, her second season. Exceptions include Croco Bay. A bit cheeky as Global Citizen didn't jump fences for a season after his novice year. Also Sky Pirate was a third season novice.


    NOVICE RATINGS - 10 successful novices since 1984 Brelan D'As 136 when 3rd and Rock The World (146) 3rd when fav 2016. The novice winners have all increased in ratings. Chosen Mate was 147, Alderwood 140, Bellvano 138 rated between 129 and 135. Pigeon Island 129, Oh Crick 130. The latter two were the lowest rated novices in the race. Alderwood and Bellvano were the second lowest of the seven novices in their respective years.


    Lowest rated runner to get in going back from last year were 139, 136, 136, 140, 134, 139, 135, 137, 130, 136.


    Those rated between 130 and 134 responsible for the winner and the second in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. Only 1st in 2010 and 2009. None of the first 4 in the last six years were in this band (Oiseau 145 before taking off jockeys 7lb claim). Only other two winners not in this band were '07 Andreas on 143 and Pigeon 129, both novices. Sky Pirate 152 and Le Prezien off 150 highest rated winners since My Young Man off 153 in 1992. Last 12 winners rated between 136 and 152 with only three in the 130's. Rock and Savello both 147, Croco Bay off 139. Chosen Mate 147, Maskada 142.


    Rated over 145 - First four last year 142, 140, 139 and 49. 10 of the 19 rated 145+. 2022 it went 136, 155, 141, 151 five were 145+, First four 2021 were 152, 143, 154, 140. Half the field 145+ All four placed in 2020 rated over 145, but only eight of the field rated below that mark. Now harder to get in. In 2019 first four ratings home were 139, 148, 136, 153. Forest Bihan in 4th was top weight. That's 23 from the last 92 placings but bringing it up to date, 17 from the last 32 145+. Higher ratings now tending to be more involved.


    PRICE - 25 from last 39 found in first five in the betting. 16 from last 27 not above 12/1. Exceptions, Maskada 22s, Global Citizen 28s. Sky Pirate 14s Croco Bay 66s, Solar Impulse 40s to 28s on course, Next Sensation, Savello, Bellvano, Uncle Ernie, Greenhope, Pigeon, Oiseau 40s. Not helpful at all. In 2014 Savello was also backed from 33s to 16s in 15 minutes. (Davy Russell trebles? Or the last leg of Mr. Michael O'Leary's 50p ew Lucky 15 that day?)


    Chosen Mate at 7/2 first fav to win since Alderwood 3/1 in 2013. Before that St Pirran 2005, Samakaan 2000 and Space Trucker in '99. Only Chosen Mate and Alderwood in the last 17 years. Due another? Only five winners from the last 13 came from the front six in the betting.


    Last year's favourite is 3-10 in the past 15 years. Dinoblue may be heading for the Mares Chase. Five from the last 17 from the front three in the market from last year's race. Look for Dinoblue, Andy Dufresne and Final Orders.


    Maskada, Dinoblue and Coeur Sublime were the only runners last year who had been BF last time out. A 1-2! Not a good result (or a great Festival tbh) for one of my favourite stats. Maskada at 22s joins Andreas 2007 12/1 and Fota Island 2005 7/1to have won since 1999 from 33 qualifiers. £1 on all of them would now put you £8 in front. None ran the previous three years. The best qualifier in 2019 was Bun Doran 2nd. One ran in 2018, Top Gamble third at 8/1.


    Last 28 winners were not running under a penalty. No qualifiers last five years. Five last time out winners last year, best 5th. Three last time out winners 2021, best Ibleo 2nd. Six ran in the last two previous years, a 1-2 in 2020, in 2019 best Brelan D'As 3rd.


    24 out of the last 31 carried no more than 10st 13lbs. But only Global Citizen and Croco Bay of the last eight. Global Citizen bottom weight off 10 st 6 Had to carry 10st 11 to get in 2020. Sky Pirate 11st 6 Chosen Mate 11 4, Croco carried 10 13, Le Prezien 11 8, Rock The World 11 5, Solar Impulse 11st. Oiseau 10st 13 after jockey's 7lb allowance. Next Sensation 11 2 , Savello 11 5 first winner since '98 Edredon Bleu to carry over 11st. This mirrors the recent rise in ratings to qualify. Not really relevant imho.


    Last 12 not seen out for at least 30 days. See Honours Board. Maskada 38, Global Citizen 39, Sky 30, Chosen Mate 50, Croco Bay 227 days, Le Prezien 90 days, Rock The World 141 days. Solar Impulse 92. Next Sensation not out for 104 days for another breathing op. Savello 54, Bellvano 30. Before that 45 days max til at least 1990. Lots of Plots.


    Rock The World, Next Sensation (4th to Savello), Uncle Ernie and Tiger Cry only winners to improve on a placed effort in the previous Festival. Alderwood won the County and Oiseau PU in 2010 but was a previous course winner. Le Prezien 7th here in 2017, Solar Impulse 7th in the Fred Winter in 2014. Croco 3rd and 5th in previous installments of this. Sky Pirate had been 7th in a Kim Muir! Global Citizen PU behind Belfast Banter in the County. Sure it was obvious. Dinoblue, Global Citizen, Third Time Lucki.


    RUNS - 22 of last 25 winners no more than 12 previous runs over fences and all were distance winners. (Maskada 10, Global only five, Sky 13 previous chases, Chosen Mate 3, Croco 25, Le Prezien 9, Rock The World and Next Sensation both 11, Alderwood only four, Solar Impulse 10, Savello 9).


    TRIP -18 of last 27 had won over 2m 2f +. Four others were already course winners. Le Prezien and Alderwood were both. Maskada won over 2m 3f+, Global Citizen and Chosen Mate hadn't. Before Rock The World none of the previous three were either. (Savello earned the title of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival Stats Demolisher)


    11 of the last 26 were previous course winners. 8 others had raced before on the course, seven at a previous festival. Exceptions include Maskada, Chosen Mate and Savello.


    15 of last 19 had run at a previous Festival, only Alderwood won (County Hurdle). 8 of the last 18 ran in the race previously, best placing achieved was third (Rock The World). Four of the last eight ran in it before plus Solar Impulse, declared to run as a novice, but pulled out because of the ground.


    BLINKERS ETC - Croco Bay (always blinkered) joined Solar Eclipse in first time blinkers, Savello (hood) and Pigeon Island (blinkers) only such winners in last 25. Nothing in headgear in the first six home last year 2022 two unplaced. Four in 2021, 7th best. Eight ran in 2020, only Us And Them (blinkered) in the first four. 2019 Eight of the nineteen in headgear, as well as Croco Bay, also Forest Bihan 4th usual cheekpieces. Nine in 2018 including 2nd, 3rd and 4th, Top Gamble 3rd in first time pieces. Six in 2017 including Theinval, 3rd, in first time cheekpieces. Only three tried in 2016 including Savello 4th.


    CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS - Mr. Steven Clements (7) is the only conditional winner I can find to win this in the past 37 years. 2010 Oiseau de Nuit 40s. Ben Harvey (5) unplaced on Coeur Sublime 2022 Shane Fitzgerald (5) alone after winning on Commander Of Fleet. Finished 9th here. 2021 none of the three contenders finished in the first six. Sean O'Keeffe (5) fine ride to finish 2nd in 2020 on Eclair De Beaufeu. None placed 2017 to 2019. 2016 step forward Bridget Andrews (5) fourth on Savello, the only conditional riding (8 spread over the previous two years unplaced), 2013 Jeremiah McGrath (3) second on Kid Cassidy, Brendan Powell (3) third on Oiseau. 5 others unplaced. Jeremiah got the ride as P Carberry suffered an unfortunate injury. Whilst he did well to finish second, imho I would have been surprised if P Carberry would have, three out, taken it up the on the Kid.