The Grand Annual is a two mile Grade 3 handicap chase which is the last race of the Cheltenham Festival. It’s always an ultra competitive and difficult race to work out with punters attempting to recoup losses or swell their pockets further and it’s a race which can be simplified plenty with the use of trends and statistics, it was won last year by Kate Harrington’s Rock The World and we’ll try below to find this year’s winner. You can also view our Grand Annual tips here.
Although not a definite runner it is North Hill Harvey who does best in our trends. He is a young and progressive horse who has had a few really top class runs this season and seems to be a horse who excels around Cheltenham.
Don’t Touch It ✅✅❌✅❌
Rock The World ❌❌✅✅✅
Diego Du Charmil ❌❌✅✅✅
Le Prezien ✅❌✅✅✅
North Hill Harvey ✅✅✅✅✅
Kate Harrington topped off a remarkable Festival last year by winning this with Rock The World last year and has two good chances of consecutive wins this year. The first of those is of course last year’s winner Rock The World who didn’t jump all that soundly throughout but came there full of running at the last and put a field of well handicapped horses to bed with the minimum of fuss, Festival form is massively important and he has that in abundance so he looks to have every chance of doing the double. Her other big chance in the race looks to be Don’t Touch It who was a winner at the Punchestown Festival last year off a mark of 144 and he looks to have been laid out for this all season, he enjoys better ground than he has been getting for the most part over in Ireland and the cheekpieces that were present for his last victory have been absent since but will likely be reapplied for this so he has an obvious chance for JP McManus.
David Pipe is a brilliant target trainer and his record at the Cheltenham Festival can’t be understated and that bodes well for the chances of Vaniteux. He has been a classy horse for a long time and was giving Douvan a race at the Cheltenham Festival two years ago when coming to grief at the second last, he won a listed handicap at Ayr off a mark of 153 at the backend of last season and having been campaigned in graded races all season he has dropped all the way down to 151. He has not been given a chance to win a race this season really but the handicapper has relented and given him a chance here and there is no doubt David Pipe will have him spot on for the big day, he must have a good chance.
Paul Nicholls won this in 2007 and 2016 and has got another serious chance this year with Diego Du Charmil. He was a short enough price last year when disappointing a bit in the County Hurdle behind Artic Fire but made a good start over fences when winning easily and has faced a couple of very stiff tasks since, he was second behind Arkle hope Saint Calvados last time and a mark of 143 seems very reasonable considering he was four pounds higher over hurdles and seems to come into his own during the Spring. The Nicholls yard also have Le Prezien and Dolos engaged at this stage and both of those would have decent chances. The former was second in a competitive handicap behind Foxtail Hill at Cheltenham in October and third in the BetVictor Gold Cup next time up also at this venue so the undulations will hold no fears and he is fairly handicapped if putting in a more polished round of jumping. Dolos made a big impression on his chasing debut when jumping well and beating Sternrubin by twenty-nine lengths and ran well to be beaten only half a length behind the progressive and tough Gino Trail last time out, a mark of 147 doesn’t seem out of his capabilities and he should go well.
North Hill Harvey is also engaged in the Arkle so punters should be slightly wary backing him but he’d have to have a fair chance if taking the handicap route instead. He beat subsequent Grade 1 winner Sceau Royal at Cheltenham back in October and then beat last year’s Supreme third by eighteen lengths at this track when jumping brilliantly, he has been below form the last twice but seems to be much better at Cheltenham as he has won at the track four times throughout his career including the ultra competitive Grade 3 Greatwood Hurdle. He is far from guaranteed to run but if taking his chance then he’ll have to go close.
With not long to go until the Festival, you can view all our antepost previews and tips on our Cheltenham Festival tips section now!