Ultima Handicap Chase Trends

Cheltenham Ultima Handicap Chase Stats And Trends

Joe Glayshier | @joeglayshier

Ultima Handicap Chase Trends 2024

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 plenty of stamina 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

The first common trend in the Ultima is the fact that just two of the last 12 winners of the handicap have been favourite or joint-favourite heading into the race.

The first of those came back in 2018, when 5/1 favourite Coo Star Sivola won the race by a neck for trainer Nick Williams and jockey Lizzie Kelly.

Of course, the last time the favourite won the race was last year, when Lucinda Russell’s Corach Rambler won by a neck to Fastorslow in the hands of Derek Fox. The ten-year-old currently heads the betting for this year’s renewal.

Stat Two

Talking of Corach Rambler, two of the last 12 winners of the Ultima have headed to Aintree for the Grand National following their win in the Cheltenham contest.

The ten-year-old went on to win the Grand National last term after his win in the Ultima, staying on strongly to claim success by over two lengths to Vanillier.

The other horse to run in the Grand National after winning the Ultima was The Druids Nephew, trained by Neil Mulholland. His luck wasn’t as good as Corach Rambler, as he fell five out from the finish in the hands of Aiden Coleman.

Stat Three

11 out of the last 12 winners of the Ultima Handicap have been rated 132 or higher by the BHA. The only horse in the last 12 years to win and be rated under 132 was Jonjo O’Neill’s Alfie Sherrin, who was rated 129 and priced at 14/1.

Golden Chieftain in 2013 was the closest to break that record off a rating of 132 exactly. Last year’s winner Corach Rambler was the second highest rated horse to win the Ultima (146), behind Un Temps Pour Tout (155), who won back-to-back renewals of the race in 2016 and 2017 for David Pipe.

Stat Four

Ten of the last 12 winners of this contest were aged between seven and nine. The oldest horse to win the Ultima in the last 12 years was Vintage Clouds in 2021, who was an 11-year-old at the time and went intro the race as a 28/1 longshot for Sue Smith and Ryan Mania.

Back in 2018, Coo Star Sivola recorded victory for Nick Williams at the age of six. The now 12-year-old hasn’t won since that day and hasn’t made a reappearance this term after turning out for Venetia Williams in a C4 chase at Bangor-on-Dee last time out in May 23’, finishing third.

Last year’s winner Corach Rambler is now a ten-year-old, so would need to defy that trend but current antepost favourite Meetingofthewaters, trained by Willie Mullins, is a seven-year-old which could bode well for his chances.

Stat Five

12 of the last 12 winners of the Ultima have had at least one run at Cheltenham, with eight having two previous runs at the course as well as seven previously winning at the venue.

Current favourite Meetingofthewaters hasn’t stepped foot out of Ireland for Willie Mullins yet, while lots of other horse in the betting such as Stumptown, Nassalam and Corach Rambler have all had previous experience of the course.

Stat Six

Finally, all 12 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 - Chianti Classico

Corach Rambler at 10’s looks a nice price as he bids for a third Ultima win in a row and he can go close, but Chianti Classico looks well set for a bold bid this term.

Trainer Kim Bailey has confirmed plans for the seven-year-old to run in the contest and comes into it off the back of a promising start to his career over fences. His first three runs have seen him win twice and finish second to Flegmatik in a C2 Kempton Chase off a rating of 142. I can see him running a big race up in trip a little.