Classic Handicap Chase Guide

Runners

The Classic Chase is a Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase, run at Warwick over a distance of about 3 miles and 5 furlongs. During its running there are twenty-two fences to be jumped.

As with the Warwick National Chase - which has been discontinued for many years now, the Classic Chase is usually contested by several horses which subsequently compete in the Grand National. The 2017 winner, One For Arthur (pictured), went on to win the world's greatest steeplechase three months later at Aintree.

This year, thirteen still remain in the field, all looking to boost their profiles, with perhaps the Cross County or the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in mind, to later on in compete in the National in April.

Un Temps Pour Tout - a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, will look to defy top weight in this under Tom Scudamore. He began this season back over hurdles, and finished last of five to Wholestone at the National venue in November, which has given David Pipe the answer he needs to send this horse back chasing.

Also towards the summit - albeit 9lbs' better off, is Step Back, back hoping to boost his National profile in time for Aintree.

The 9yo's victory in the Sandown Gold Cup back in April on the last day of last season is being boosted all the time. The second - Rock The Kasbah won the G3 BetVictor.com Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in November, whilst the third - Present Man, landed back to back Listed Badger Ales Trophies at Wincanton.

There have also been wins for the fourth and fifth, and eighth and ninth placed-finished horses in major contests since. Mark Bradstock's 9yo returned to finish seventh at Chepstow latest, but would have improved his fitness and sharpness in the process.

There are however, plenty in here with a featherweight to carry over the extended 3m5f trip. Impulsive Star right at the bottom cannot be discounted under 3lb claimer Sam Waley-Cohen after his recent second to the smart-looking Ok Corral at Plumpton on the latter's chasing debut. Neil Mulholland's 8yo was only two lengths down that day when plugging on, and off minimal weight must be in contention.

Mulholland also has Carole's Destrier, who likewise is down there on 10st6 which is very doable indeed. He was a 12/1 winner when sent back up in trip at Newbury over Christmas. The signs were there, when finishing fifth to Step Back at Sandown last April, and appears to be at his preferred distance now.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has one of the market principles in Calett Mad, who ran an absolute blinder in the four-miler at Kelso at the beginning of December. He was very unfortunate that day to not follow up his creditable fifth in the BetVictor.com Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, so a solid effort expected.

After his win at Cheltenham in a Grade 3 over four furlongs less, NTD's Cogry cannot be discounted either.

Milansbar won this race twelve months ago for Neil King and Bryony Frost, and will be hoping for the same off 8lb lower this time around. The veteran can also call upon the efforts of Miss Gina Andrews in the saddle this time around, who claims an extra three.

Duel At Dawn and Sizing Codelco are other worthy contenders.

Trends

All thirteen of the last thirteen winners had raced within the last 6 weeks, only three of which winning.

Twelve of the last thirteen winners had won a chase race over at least 3m, but this race of course asks for that little bit more.

Ten of the last thirteen winners carried 11st2 or less in weight, and we have already identified plenty of those carrying featherweights in this year's renewal. Nine of the last thirteen winners were officially rated between 129 and 140.

Eight winners since 2006 had raced at Warwick before - whether that be over hurdles or fences, or in bumpers. The same number have been aged nine or older when winning this, so do not rule Milansbar out - the 12yo, who goes for his second win in this contest.

Betting wise, seven of the last thirteen favourites placed, but not a single one of them winning. Ten of the last thirteen winners came from outside the top three in the betting market beforehand. Seven since 2006 returned a double-figure price, with the average winning SP in the last 13 runnings being around 10.5/1.

Six of the last thirteen had run at either Cheltenham (3) or Newbury (3) in their last race. Five winners of this contest since 2006 went onto run in that season’s Grand National - of course One For Arthur won both in 2017.

Paul Nicholls has had three winners in the last thirteen years, whilst Alan King has had two.

Excluding Ruby Walsh - who is highly unlikely to have a ride in this race, there has been no repeat winner in jockey terms since 2005.

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