Neville Hotels Novice Chase Guide

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Runners

The Fort Leney Novice Chase, currently ran as the Neville Hotels Novice Chase, is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase held once more at Leopardstown, during their Christmas festival in Ireland.

It is run over a distance of three miles, where there are 17 fences to be jumped and as it seems to be the case every year; the race looks set to be strongly influenced by Gigginstown House Stud.

Similarly to the Ryanair Hurdle - the second Grade 1 on Saturday from Leopardstown, seven go to post; five of which from Gigginstown, including the favourite Delta Work for trainer Gordon Elliott.

The 5yo gelding has won his two starts over fences this season - most recently in the Grade One Drinmore Novices Chase, beating Le Richebourg who has since boosted the form. Last season's Pertemps Final winner is joined by stable companion Blow By Blow - who also won at the Festival nine months ago in the Martin Pipe.

However, the latter has somewhat struggled since stepping up the fences, and will be looking to improve from his recent seventh at Fairyhouse where he was the last to finish. Also sporting the Gigginstown colours are Henry De Bromhead duo Nick Lost and Judgement Day - the latter who has notched up a four-timer on good ground over the past four months.

Joseph O'Brien also has Mortal, who won on his chasing debut in a Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse almost a month ago.

The two challengers to Gigginstown are Ben Dundee, who has much to prove after he was pulled up two-out last time in a Grade 3, and the Jessica Harrington-trained Moonshine Bay, who should not be discounted, having scored in two of his last three contests.

Trends

As mentioned, Gigginstown make up most of this seven-runner field for the Grade One Neville Hotels Novice Chase.

Last year, the mare Shattered Love - who went onto win the JLT at Cheltenham, proved her class over her stable companion Jury Duty, who went onto win the American Grand National himself.

In 2015, No More Heroes led home a 1-2 for the owners, when beating Rule The World; a winner of the Grand National at Aintree.

This was also the case in 2011, when Last Instalment denied First Lieutenant. Gigginstown also had a horse place in the three renewals previous to that, and have looked utterly dominant in this in the 21st Century.

More recently, Gordon Elliott has trained two of the last four winners, whereas owner JP McManus has had a horse placed in all of those races too.

The most common trend seems to be youth, as six-year-olds have won every renewal since 2014, when Don Poli won aged five.

The last horse aged older than six to win was Carlingford Lough, who was victorious in 2013, but sadly lost his life in the last few days.

Only three favourites have won since 2010 and one of them was odds-on in a four-runner-race, so the market leader is not always the one to be on.

Elsewhere, seven of the last ten winners, won on their last outing - all of ten racing in the past 40 days. Nine of the last ten winners had no more than six runs in hurdles contests - signifying a chasing career was always destined, with one less winner previously achieving a top three finish in a graded hurdle.

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