Savills Chase Guide

RUNNERS

The Savills Chase, formerly known as the Lexus Chase and the Leopardstown Christmas Chase is yet another headline act over the Christmas Period in the National Hunt calendar from Ireland.

This contest - over three miles, has been won by some true greats of the past; many of whom went onto contest Gold Cup's and win them. Gigginstown House Stud have been nightmares for all other challengers in the last few years - and you can see why in the TRENDS section below. This year, they make up just under half of the twelve runner field with five contenders.

Two of those currently head the market in the form of Road To Respect and Shattered Love. The former (RTR) returned to the scene when storming clear to win the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal at the beginning of last month. Noel Meade's classy 7yo is a former Cheltenham Festival winner in his younger days, and won this twelve months ago on the way to finishing fourth in the Gold Cup in March.

He is back for more, and is joined by Gordon Elliott's JLT winner (SL), who is the only mare in the field, and as a result claims 7lbs from her rivals. She is a previous course and distance winner - from the Neville Hotels Novice Chase last season, and skipped the King George in favour of this.

She is joined by another Gigginstown representative in the form of stablemate Outlander - who won this back in 2016. Noel Meade also has the grey Disko, whilst Henry de Bromhead has Ryanair victor Balko Des Flos in there too.

Willie Mullins has two in the field: Kemboy and Bellshill. Firstly, Kemboy - winner of the Clonmel Oil Chase, was supposed to be heading to Newbury for the Ladbrokes Trophy, but poor weather conditions meant he failed to make the trip. Bellshill on the other hand, looks to be a future Grand National horse, after his stunning performance in the Punchestown Gold Cup back in April.

Other contenders include Anibale Fly - third in the Gold Cup back in March, but failed to land a blow at Cork on reappearance, Edwulf - under the same ownership, made a miraculous return to form when winning the Irish Gold Cup here back in February, and Monalee - who was a good third to Snow Falcon (Shattered Love 2nd) on his return in a Grade 2 back in November, having been amongst the wars in 2018.

TRENDS

As mentioned, Gigginstown have been nightmares for all other challengers in the last few years.

In 2014, they won this race with the similarly named Road To Riches. In 2015 and 2016, one Gigginstown horse led home another, with both Don Poli and Outlander claiming top honours respectively, before a year later owning the three horses that finished in the places.

They also had a horse place in both the 2012 and 2013 renewals, signifying their dominance in this contest in the past few years. Gigginstown regulars Bryan Cooper, Jack Kennedy and Sean Flanagan have all shared the spoils.

Noel Meade has trained three of the last eight winners, and only one non Irish Trainer has won this race since 2011, when Bobs Worth won this for current English Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson. Three of the last 10 favourites have won, with SPs of the winners ranging from 4/6 to 11/1.

Since Beef or Salmon's record third success in this race as a nine-year-old in 2005, only one horse has won this at an older age. That was Tidal Bay's victory for Paul Nicholls in 2012, when he won at the grand old age of eleven.

Road To Respect will be looking to add his name to dual winners of this contest - the last of which was Michael Hourigan's success thirteen years ago, with Beef Or Salmon - the most decorated horse in this races' history.

Since 1986, just two other horses have won this more than once; Rince Ri and Maid Of Money.

After both Sizing John and Presenting Percy have dodged this contest, we are still left with a classy field of 12, and are all set for an intense battle for many future Gold Cup hopefuls.

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