Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Race Card

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

1st
Davy Russell

Chosen Mate

Age: 7
Weight: 11.3
OR: 147
J:
 
Davy Russell
T:
 
Gordon Elliott
mid-division, dropped to rear 8th, smooth headway after 3 out, led between last 2, not fluent last, ran on, ridden out
2nd
Sean O'Keeffe

Eclair De Beaufeu

Age: 6
Weight: 11.4
OR: 149
J:
 
Sean O'Keeffe
T:
 
Gordon Elliott
mid-division, headway approaching 3 out, ridden after 2 out, went 2nd at the last, kept on but not pace to get on terms with winner
3rd
J J Slevin

Us And Them

Age: 7
Weight: 11.4
OR: 148
J:
 
J J Slevin
T:
 
Joseph Patrick O'Brien
tracking leaders when mistake 1st, mid-division next, tracked leaders 5th, dropped to rear 4 out, ridden and headway approaching 2 out, went 3rd after last, kept on
4th
Harry Cobden

Greaneteen

Age: 6
Weight: 11.5
OR: 150
J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
mid-division, headway bit not clearest of runs when blundered 2 out, soon ridden, kept on into 4th after last, not pace to threaten
5th
Jeremiah McGrath

Theinval

Age: 10
Weight: 10.9
OR: 141
J:
 
Jeremiah McGrath
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
held up towards rear, hit 3 out, headway next, kept on run-in but never any threat
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Sixth race of Gold Cup Day

The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase is Grade Three Handicap that takes place on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. It is the penultimate race of the week and the final race for regular jockeys, with the final race of the meeting only open to conditional jockeys.

The race is ran on the new Cheltenham course, over a distance of 2 miles and there 14 fences for the runners to face.

The handicap rating to qualify for the race changes year on year however horses must be aged at least five in order to run in the race and there is a purse of £61,000 to the winner.

History of the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase

The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase is the oldest race of the 28 races at the festival and not only that, is also the oldest chase race still running within national hunt racing, with its first running all the way back in April 1834.

The race was originally run over three miles and then was scrapped during the 1860's. It was reintroduced to the national hunt calendar in the early 1900's, where it took place in many different venues such as Leicester and Warwick before going to Cheltenham in 1913.

The race doesn't have a sponsor and instead, was named after the late Johnny Henderson in 2005, who is the farther of champion trainer Nicky Henderson. Johnny, who died in 2003, formed a group within the 1960's that raised £240,000 to purchase Cheltenham racecourse and secure the course's future.

The race is now the second last of the meeting however from 2009 to 2018, it was ran as the last. Not only did in 2019, the race change times but also was reduced to only 20 runners due to three fatalities in 2018.

Recent years

Croco Bay was a shock winner of the 2019 running, winning at huge odds of 50/1 for trainer Ben Case and jockey Kielan Woods.

In 2018, Le Prezien have Paul Nicholls a fourth win in the race, which makes him the most successful trainer in the Grand Annual. Nicholls was also victorious in 2016 and therefore has won two of the last four renewals so he clearly knows how to get his horses right for the race. His four wins are with the following horses:

Paul Nicholls:

St Pirran (2004)

Andreas (2007)

Solar Impulse (2016)

Le Prezien (2018)

There is no clear stand out jockey in recent times to win the race, with Graham Bradley's four wins the clear standout however he is now retired, having picked up his wins during the 1980's and 1990's.

Paul Nicholls' record in the race however would suggest it may be worth paying close attention to his runners that could be ridden by Harry Cobden or with Le Prezien winning it in 2018 and coming close in 2019, a Nicholls runner that is owned by JP McManus and ridden by Barry Geraghty should also be noted.

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