The Festival Trophy Handicap Chase

Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race)

1st
Ryan Mania

Vintage Clouds

Age: 11
Weight: 10.8
OR: 143
J:
 
Ryan Mania
T:
 
Sue Smith
jumped right on occasions, pressed leader, led 10th, headed 13th, led again 14th, briefly headed 4 out, pushed along 3 out, 1 length ahead last, ridden clear final 110yds, readily
2nd
David Bass

Happygolucky

Age: 7
Weight: 11.1
OR: 147
J:
 
David Bass
T:
 
Kim Bailey
travelled strongly, prominent, not fluent 13th, going easily on outer from 3 out, went second 2 out, ridden and 1 length down when not fluent last, edged left and no extra final 110yds
3rd
Richard Johnson

Aye Right

Age: 8
Weight: 11.6
OR: 154
J:
 
Richard Johnson
T:
 
Harriet Graham
didn't jump with fluency, midfield on inner, steady headway and prominent halfway, pushed along after 3 out, ridden and went third last, kept on final 110yds, no match for first two
4th
Charlie Deutsch

Cepage

Age: 9
Weight: 11.9
OR: 158
J:
 
Charlie Deutsch
T:
 
Venetia Williams
raced wide, prominent, pushed along after 4 out, outpaced and lost ground 3 out, soon ridden and struggling, rallied after 2 out, went fourth inside final 110yds, ran on, not pace to challenge
5th
Tom Scudamore

One For The Team

Age: 7
Weight: 10.6
OR: 140
J:
 
Tom Scudamore
T:
 
Nick Williams
prominent, not fluent 14th, hit 15th, soon lost position and pushed along, no impression when not fluent 3 out, ridden and rallied 2 out, kept on final 110yds, not pace to challenge
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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.

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