National Hunt Chase Trends

The National Hunt Chase, also known as the four-miler, is the longest trip of any race at the Cheltenham Festival and is open to novice chasers aged five or older. This Grade 2 has been run more times than any other race at the Cheltenham Festival and was won last year by Tiger Roll trained by Gordon Elliott, ridden by Lisa O’Neill and owned by Gigginstown House Stud. There are some important statistics and trends which can help dig out the winner of this race and we’ll look at them below, you can check out our National Hunt Chase tips here.

National Hunt Chase Trends

  • Elliott beginning to dominate – Gordon Elliott has won the race three times since 2011
  • Match practice is key – 15 of the last 16 winners had all had had at least four starts that season
  • Punters do well – Only one winner since 2011 has been a double figure price
  • Certain ages dominate – 9 of the last 12 winners have been either seven or eight years old
  • Stamina is paramount – 10 of the last 12 winners had won over three miles before

Trends – Key Runners

Jury Duty ✅✅✅✅❌

Dounikos ✅❌✅✅❌

Elegant Escape ❌✅✅✅✅

Fagan ✅✅❌✅✅

No Comment ❌❌❌✅❌

Rathvinden ❌✅❌❌✅

Duel At Dawn ❌✅❌✅✅

With Presenting Percy looking RSA-bound the obvious starting point trends-wise seems to be Jury Duty who does well in our categories being a Gordon Elliott-trained seven year old who has run five times this season including a number of good runs over three miles.

Trends Analysis

Gordon Elliott has begun to do really well in this race and is well represented at this stage with the likes of Jury Duty and Dounikos towards the head of the market. The former has been contesting some decent races throughout the season since finishing third in last year’s Pertemps and was beaten under two lengths by stablemate Shattered Love in a Grade 1 two starts ago at Leopardstown. He is not one who likes to hit the front too soon and often idles but is talented and looks like he should stay. His stablemate Dounikos is arguably even more interesting, he was nothing more than a moderate hurdler and produced a shock when winning on his chasing debut but proved it was no fluke when winning second time up, improving his form yet again when fourth behind Monalee in a Grade 1 last time when possibly a little unlucky in running. He has improved no end for going over fences and comes into the race just a pound lower rated than Tiger Roll was when winning this last year.

The British contingent looks to be led this year by Elegant Escape who has run five times this season and recorded three second place finishes and two wins. He beat RSA fancy Black Corton when staying on powerfully at the finish in a Newbury Grade 2 and looked like he was crying out for a serious test of stamina when getting outpaced but staying on to finish second in the Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day. He was given a nice confidence booster when winning by thirteen lengths as the odds-on favourite last time and a rating of 153 puts him right up there in terms of class for a race like this, he looks to have a lot going for him with the Tizzard stable back in form.

It’s hard to know what will actually turn up at this stage but one horse who has looked nailed on to run here for a while is Fagan who has been somewhat disappointing over fences considering he was once second to Unowhatimeanharry in the Albert Bartlett. He was beaten by Ballyandy on his second start over fences and then finished second to Black Corton at Cheltenham having been badly outpaced when they quickened up, that form looks much better now than it did back then and he has always been a horse who looked in desperate need of an extreme test of stamina, so this race could well be right up his street.

Philip Hobbs has had a torrid time of things this season and his stable form would be a concern for all his runners but he looks to have an intriguing contender in the shape of No Comment who has seen a bit of support for this recently. He ran some very good races last year in competitive handicap hurdles including when second behind the ill-fated and extremely talented Fountain’s Windfall. He reappeared after nearly 300 days off the track to finish an eyecatching third in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles on his first start over fences and this step up in trip could bring out plenty of improvement, he jumped nicely that day and although he will have to overcome his evident inexperience over fences he looks a contender.

Others such as Rathvinden, who has plenty of decent chasing form to his name this season, look to be heading to this race and would have a say if doing so and at bigger prices the Alex Hales trained Duel At Dawn was not disgraced behind the talented Ms Parfois last time and may also improve for this extreme test.

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