The Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle is a Grade 3 contested over the three mile distance at the Cheltenham Festival on Day 3. It’s another extremely competitive affair that features a massive field, with the leading trainer being Jonjo O’Neill with four horses carrying his name to glory. The past two years have gone to Pat Kelly and Davy Russell in the colours of Philip J Reynolds and the Irish look to have another strong hand in this year’s renewal. As with any big handicap, there are trends we can follow to help find the winner and we have found the key ones below. For a different view, our Pertemps Final tips are also on site and ready to view now.
Pertemps Final Trends
- The younger the better – Since the turn of the century thirteen winners were aged eight or younger
- Punter’s kiss of death – Ten of the past twelve winners were sent off at double figure prices, with only two favourites scoring since 2000
- Going the distance – Of the past twenty-five renewals, nineteen had previously won over the three mile distance or comparative
- Weight does matter – Since 2000, only seven horses (out of seventeen) have carried 11st or more to victory
- The Irish Struggle – Only four Irish trained horses have won since the turn of the century
Louis’ Vac Pouch ✅❌✅❌✅
Who Dares Wins ✅✅❌❌✅
Sort It Out ❌✅❌✅❌
Forza Milan ✅✅❌✅✅
Tommy Rapper ✅✅✅✅✅
The one from the front of the market who fits the bill is Tommy Rapper, a seven year old that will carry 10st 11lb for Dan Skelton. He arrives on a four-timer and is given the pass on the distance trend as he was powering home over 2m 7f in heavy ground at Haydock in February. He needs a career best off this mark, but he’s unexposed as a stayer and should run a big race.
This handicap is always hugely competitive and that should come as no surprise, especially as this is a graveyard for favourites. Glenloe will be trying to set the score straight for the punters and currently heads the antepost market for Gordon Elliott as Ireland bids for a hat-trick in the contest. A winner over the 2m 7f distance, he has placed in three big field handicaps this season and that stands him in good stead for a number of reasons. His handicap mark has not suffered since he has been denied narrowly on all three occasions and his experience of big field handicaps is a massive advantage considering this will be run in a similar way. He is ideally weighted if the trends are anything to go by off 10st 8lbs and he shouldn’t be far away come race day.
The British charge looks set to be led by Louis’ Vac Pouch, who arrives here on the back of a comfortable victory at Aintree in November on his first attempt of the three mile distance. He showed plenty of resolve to dig in late on, showing he has the grit and stamina for a race of this nature. He will need to improve as he’s now thirteen pounds higher but he’s completely unexposed as a stayer and should have far more to offer. Historically it’s been much better to be weighted below eleven stone which is a slight concern, but the fact his stamina is assured is a big feather in his cap.
It will need to be a role reversal for Forza Milan if he’s to win this contest, as he was behind Louis’ Vac Pouch at Aintree in November, finishing second. He will meet his rival on three pound better terms, again finishing second on his latest start at Newbury in December. His narrow defeats do mean his handicap mark hasn’t suffered quite as much which is positive and although he’s not won at this trip, he’s been finishing very strongly over it the last twice. 10st 9lb will be an ideal weight come race day and he looks sure to make his presence felt for at least an each way spot.
The case isn’t quite as simple for Who Dares Wins, who will be having his first try at the three mile distance in this contest for Alan King. He certainly wasn’t stopping when third over 2m 5f at Kempton on his latest start and his third in the 2m 5f Coral Cup at last year’s Festival does read positively. 11st 6lb means he will be carrying quite the bulk of weight and he does still have stamina to prove which is a big negative trends wise, but he is still only six and it would be little surprise were he to run a big race.
The horse who fits all the trends is Tommy Rapper, a winner over 2m 7f on heavy ground when last seen in February. He arrives to the Festival on a four-timer and has really taken off in handicaps, well weighted off 10st 11lb to make a very bold bid for the Skeltons. He seems to have very much slipped under the radar and he’s one to take very seriously for at least a place come race day.
The excitement is building for the 2018 Festival and it’s only days away! You can view all our antepost previews and tips on our Cheltenham Festival tips section now!