We might have one eye on the Cheltenham Festival in a few months but hot on the heels of that is the Aintree Grand National Meeting so in the coming weeks we’ll also be seeing several key trial races ahead of the Merseyside Marathon.
The latest of those is the Grade Three McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase, which is run over three miles and five furlongs, this Saturday at Warwick – a race the Lucinda Russell-trained, One For Arthur, landed before going onto glory in the Aintree Grand National later that season.
Twelve months ago, we saw Milansbar relish conditions to win by an easy eleven lengths and he’ll be looking to become the first ever back-to-back winner of the prize.
There are plenty of clues and tips to look for ahead of the race, including that ALL of the last thirteen winners had raced in the last six weeks, while ten of the last thirteen successful horses carried 11st 2lbs or less in weight.
You can get more help finding the winner of the Classic Chase on our ITV Racing Tips page.
Plus, to help pinpoint the best winning profile of the 2019 Classic Chase we are on-hand with some key trends and statistics.
We hope they help you find the winner, but if you fancy a horse that we’ve not featured below then simply apply these stats to that runner.
13 of the last 13 winners had raced in the last six weeks
12 of the last 13 winners had won over at least 3 miles (chase) before
10 of the last 13 winners carried 11st 2lbs or less in weight
10 of the last 13 winners came from outside the top three in the betting
9 of the last 13 winners were aged between seven and nine-years-old
9 of the last 13 winners were officially rated between 129-140
Calett Mad ✅❌✅❌✅❌
Ibis Du Rheu ✅✅✅❌✅❌
Step Back ❌✅❌❌✅❌
Duel At Dawn ✅✅✅❌✅✅
Carole’s Destrier ✅✅✅❌❌✅
The Nigel Twiston-Davies team have won this race once in the past (2005) but look to have a decent chance of adding to that success this year with Calett Mad. This seven-year-old still has plenty of time on his side and has returned this season with three runs that have got progressively better each time. We last saw him running a close second at Kelso over four miles so this trip of 3m5f is fine. He also acts well in most ground types and even though he falls down on three of our six trends the negatives can be taken with a pinch of salt. Yes, he’s not won over 3miles, or further, as yet but he has been successful just shy of that trip and his recent second over 4m suggests he won’t have any issues with this distance. Overall, he’s a useful sort that is developing into a decent staying type so can’t be ruled out. However, he’s also likely to not be much value in the betting and if he is sent off favourite it worth noting we’ve only seen one market leader take this prize in the last thirteen renewals.
Another trainer with previous history in this race is Paul Nicholls – he’s won the contest three times (2006, 2007 and 2015). He pins his hopes this year on the eight-year-old Ibis Du Rheu, who looks worth a try over this longer trip. He’s was a winner over 3m 1/2f at Cheltenham back in November and then ran into a useful sort last time (The Worlds End) – also at Prestbury Park. He might need to brush up on his jumping but over this longer trip should find things happening a lot slower, which will help. The trends give him a leading say too, with four of our six in his favour. Being rated 146, and being a possible fancy in the top three in the market, are the factors against him, but age, trip and having had a recent run all counteract that. In a race his trainer loves to target he’s hard to ignore.
Last year’s hero – Milansbar – will be looking to not only win this race back-to-back but to also win it for a second time. At the age of twelve he’s certainly not getting any younger but since 1993 we have seen a few winners of this age win the race. In fact, fourteen of the last twenty-four runnings (58%) have gone to a horse aged in double-figures, but it’s worth pointing out the bulk of those were prior to 2000. He’s also likely to be the only proven course and distance winner in the field and that must count for a lot. Last year he won by eleven lengths so even though he’s another year older and also rated six pounds higher he did win with a fair bit in-hand to suggest he’s a player again. He might like a bit of rain but he ticks four of our six trends, with having a recent run, winning form over at least three miles and being rated between 129-140 his main positives. A previous winner of any race simple can’t be overlooked.
Step Back is another interesting runner. This nine-year-old, from the Mark Bradstock yard, is a horse that’s clearly had some issues during his career as this is only his eighth carer run under rules and just his sixth over fences. He does have a decent record over the bigger obstacles with two wins, a second and a third from five outings. He blew away the cobwebs last time at Chepstow with a fair seventh (of twelve) but before that was a nice winner of the Bet365 Gold Cup last April. That contest also is run over this trip, so if anywhere near that level of form here then he must go well. He is, however, rated a massive fourteen pounds higher now and of the six main horses featured, he is the one that falls down on the most trends with just two of our six in his favour. Winning form over at least three miles and his age (nine) are the pluses. In short, he’s certainly got the form to go well but looks a fragile sort that needs to show is as good off this much higher rating.
The Alex Hales yard boasts a decent 22% record with their chasers at the track so their Duel At Dawn is certainly another interesting contender, especially running off a light weight. He returned with an average run at Haydock last month but with that coming off a long break can be expected to have come on for that. He’s also dropped two pounds from that last run and with just six runs over fences should have more to come. The trends give him a big chance too, with five of the six in his favour. He only falls down on potentially being one of the market principles in the race but that could easily change. Yes, he’s got a bit to prove over this longer trip – with all wins coming around three miles – but off a low weight he looks dangerous and the stats also suggest he’s got a major chance.
We saw an eleven-year-old win this race last year so supporters of Carole’s Destrier will be pleased to hear that. Trained by Neil Mulholland, who have a cracking 31% strike-rate with their chasers at the track, this horse turned back the clock last time with a gutsy win at Newbury. A three-pound rise for that success looks fair but being once rated in the 150’s then this current mark of 138 still looks attractive. He’s been well-supported in the build-up to the race and it’s easy to see why as he’s another that gets in here off a low weight and has plenty of our trends on his side too. Trip and ground are also fine while that last run clearly shows that, despite his age, he’s still in love with his race. If there is a small negative it might be the form of the yard but all-in-all he’s another that the trends suggest has solid credentials.
Every Warwick race covered live on ITV can be found on our Warwick Betting Tips, with runner by runner previews for each contest.