Thursday 14th March will see the 2019 renewal of the JLT Novices Chase. This race was won last year by the Gordon Elliott trained Shattered Love but this year we believe the spoils will go to an English horse.
Paul Nicholls has been in terrific form so far this season and will be looking to carry that on all the way up to the festival after last season not performing to the highest standard.
The horse we believe can take the glory on the Thursday of the festival is Topofthegame. This horse has been thrown about as being really special and could be a serious contender of taking this race at Cheltenham if living up to the expectations of his trainer and pundits.
Like the current market leader for the JLT Novices Chase in Black Op, this Nicholls horse has not yet been seen this season but will going fences for the first time when he does and off the back of his hurdling last year and the size of the six year old he should take to chasing like a dream.
At the back end of last season over hurdles he truly showed what a classy horse when he went on to win at Sandown in the Grade 3 Betfred Heroes Handicap Hurdle. From there he went to the festival and competed in the 26 runner Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle and again he put in a brave performance and showed plenty of ability and was just pipped to victory finishing a valiant second.
This horse has been talked about all of the off season by trainer Paul Nicholls and is waiting for the ground to turn soft so he can be unleashed over fences.
Currently he is 20/1 for the JLT Novices Chase in some Ante-Post markets but will be sure to be a lot shorter if really looking impressive on his chase debut.
This video below explains Nicholls' reasons for why they like this horse so much.