The Festival Trophy Handicap Chase

Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

1st
Brendan Powell

The Conditional

Age: 8
Weight: 10.4
OR: 139
J:
 
Brendan Powell
T:
 
David Bridgwater
in touch, tracked leaders 12th, close 4th when hit 2 out, soon ridden, led final 160yds, stayed on well, driven out
2nd
Daryl Jacob

Kildisart

Age: 8
Weight: 11.2
OR: 150
J:
 
Daryl Jacob
T:
 
Ben Pauling
in touch, tracked leaders 12th, ridden in close 3rd turning in, every chance after last, stayed on well with winner final 120yds, held close home
3rd
B J Cooper

Discorama

Age: 7
Weight: 11.1
OR: 148
J:
 
B J Cooper
T:
 
Paul Nolan
held up behind, midfield 10th, headway after 4 out, ridden in 5th when hanging left after 3 out, stayed on from last, went 3rd towards finish (vet said gelding lost its right-fore shoe)
4th
David Bass

Vinndication

Age: 7
Weight: 11.9
OR: 159
J:
 
David Bass
T:
 
Kim Bailey
prominent, took narrow advantage 2 out, soon ridden, headed final 160yds, no extra towards finish
5th
Derek Fox

Big River

Age: 10
Weight: 10.6
OR: 141
J:
 
Derek Fox
T:
 
Lucinda Russell
mid-division, ridden and steady progress after 3 out, went 6th next, stayed on from last but not pace to threaten

Third race of Champions Day

The Festival Trophy Handicap Chase, these days known as ‘The Ultima’ is the third race of the festival and after two Grade One contests to open the Champions Day Card, it is the first of the week’s handicaps.

The race is run over 3 miles and 1 furlong and is open to chasers who are aged fiver or over. The race has Grade 3 status and there 20 fences for the runners.

History of the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase

The race is one of the older ones at the festival, first being ran in 1946 and without a sponsor, was known as the National Hunt Handicap Chase.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the race received sponsorship, with the Ritz Club taking over naming rights in 1981 and sponsored the race all the way up until 1996. Following them, Buzz Shop took over but only lasted a year before big bookmarker William Hill took over until 2010.

The 2011 edition of the race featured special sponsorship. The race was sponsored buy businessman Andy Steward and his charity research company to raise awareness of their spinal research. 2013 and 2014 saw two new sponsors, JLT followed by Baylis and Harding. 2015 saw Ultima Business Solutions take over and they have named the race ever since.

There have been 69 winners of the race since it began, with three horses successful on two occasions:

Sentina – (1957, 1958)

Scot Lane – (1982, 1983)

Un Temps Pour Tout – (2016, 2017)

Recent years

The race was in 2019 by Beware the Bear, for Nicky Henderson and Jerimiah McGrath which give Henderson a second win in the race however he still needs another two to join both Fred Rimell and Fulke Walwyn on four wins, the joint most. The horses they won it with are below:

Fred Rimell:

Cavaliero (1948)

Frere Jacques II (1949)

Land Fort (1951)

Holly Bank (1954)

Fulke Walwyn:

Ravencroft (1961)

Team Spirit (1963)

Lord Jim (1971)

Gay Vulgan (1977)

Un Temps Pour Tout’s two successive victories gave jockey Tom Scudamore his second and third win in the race and that makes him the joint most successful jockey in the race with the now retired Rob Thornton, here’s the horses they steered to victory:

Tom Scudamore:

An Accordion (2008), Un Temps Pour Tout (2016, 2017)

Rob Thornton:

Fork Lightning (2004)

Kelami (2005)

Bensalem (2011)

Whilst there is not a specific dominance within the race, the stats would suggest the race now requires even better horses to win it, with five of the last six winners all carrying at least 11 stone, 3 lb and that may be worth keeping an eye on.

As well as this, it could be worth noting runners from either David Pipe or Jonjo O’Neill, the pair have sent out 3 winners a piece in the last 12 years, so they are responsible for 50% of the winners since 2008.

When The Fun Stops. Stop.