Ultima Handicap Chase Trends

Cheltenham Ultima Handicap Chase Stats And Trends

James Mackie | @jamesmackieee

Ultima Handicap Chase Trends 2023

The third race of the festival and the opening handicap of the four day meeting, The Ultima Handicap chase shifts the focus from the two milers to the stamina laden chasers. 

Open to five year olds and over the three mile and half a furlong trip calls on those with big engines to thoroughly see out the trip. 

Below, we have put together a collection of stats and trends hopefully to help build a profile to finding some value in the race this year.

Stat One

An ideal starting place for building your profile is the age of the winner. 12 of the last 16 winners were aged seven, eight or 10 years old.

the 2021 winner Vintage Clouds went against this stat being 11 years old but he is one of the very few at that age to win it and it is usually best to go for younger horses.

Stat Two

To further build your profile, 13 of the last 16 winners placed top five in their prep run for the Ultima. It might sound obvious but it appears to pay to be siding with those running well.

Last year's winner Corach Rambler did go against this trend having unseated his rider in Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices' Chase, but it is usually worth looking at horses that have been and around the frame last time out.

Stat Three

Further narrowing the field down, there is an apparent class barrier to work with when finding the winner of the Ultima.

All of the last 15 winners were rated 129 or more. 10 of the last 16 winners were rated 142 or more and Five of the last nine winners were rated 145 or more.

Finding a group horse in a handicap is the way to go in this race or a horse that has lbs in hand on their handicap marks.

Stat Four

Previous course form around Cheltenham proves to be important in Ultima winners.

15 of the last 16 winners had placed in a race around Cheltenham before.

Furthermore, 12 of the last 16 winners had run at Cheltenham three or more times and nine of those had four or more runs at the course.

Pay attention to those who had run well or often at Prestbury Park before. Dealing with the stiff hill finish is essential.

Stat Five

Further building our profile of a winner, being unexposed is a key ingredient to success here.

13 of the last 16 winners had ten or fewer runs over hurdles. Look for those who didn’t spend too long over timber and were quickly shifted to fences.

But, to further add to that, 10 of the last 16 winners had nine or less runs over fences. Experience is important but being overexposed over the larger obstacles is a hindrance here.

Last year’s winner fit the both the hurdles and chase trends, so this specific stat might be worth trying to fit with your chosen horses.

Stat Six

A key race to pay attention to is the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury.

Four of the last 16 winners had run in the previous year’s renewal.

Stat Seven

Finally, all 15 of the previous winners had won over three miles.

Proven stamina is a must, having notched a win over a staying trip is essential, be ready to put lines through those entered who don’t have a win at 24 furlongs under their belt.

Stamina is the name of the game here, it’d wise to not go into this race guessing that your fancy will get the trip.

Value Angle - Happygolucky

The value angle in this race is the Kim Bailey trained Happygolucky that was second in the race in 2021 and only nine years of age having only been seen three times since then he is unexposed for his age.

He is a winner over three miles that did not have many runs over hurdles before going chasing and constantly dropping down the handicap he looks an attractive bet for this race at a double figure price.