• Hands Heels

National Hunt Novices’ Chase (Grade Two)

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

16:50 Cheltenham 16/03

The final race to bring day one to a close is the gruelling National Hunt Novices’ Chase over a reduced 3m6f stepping back slightly from the 4m it used to be. This race is always a slog and will most likely be a laboured finish with it not necessarily going to the horse with the most ability, but the one with the most heart and stamina.

Favourite is Galvin for Gordon Elliott, a second season novice chaser, having finished second last year and fourth in some good novices chases in Ireland. He then stayed on well to finish 2nd to Ryanair fancy Imperial Aura at Cheltenham last year. This season he has ran four times and won four times! Evidently a horse full of class, my concern with him would be that he hasn’t run since October last year and has only ran once at 3miles, at 7/2 I wouldn’t be willing to guess on his stamina to stay the nearly extra mile. Favourites also generally have a poor record in the race with no favourite winning in since 2013. He might have the ability to beat these but does he have the stamina and heart to beat some of the more proven stayers?

Next up we have the impressive Royal Pagaille who will not be running here, instead taken a well earned chance in the Gold Cup. Latest Exhibition is too good for this and should go for the RSA, I know he’s ran second to Monkfish a few times, but if anything was to happen to Monkfish on the day then they would regret not taken their chance there. Next Destination also appears to be targeting that race instead of this. Escaria Ten is entered here, but I can see her going for one of the handicaps instead.

With much of the market uncertain to go here I will look for a bit of value in one of the bigger prices here. For 33/1 I like the look of Snow Leopardess, and she will be my each way selection here. Staying on strongly to finish second by a head to Canelo in the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick on boxing day, she has been freshened up since having ran 4 times over 2 months before the new year wining once with two seconds and a third against the highly rated Shan Blue and The Butcher Said. The step up in trip will surely suit and this proven stayer has a good place chance, especially with half of the horses ahead of her in the market seemingly heading elsewhere.

With everything that's happened recently, and the uncertainty regarding Gordon Elliott's runners, I think the Market here will be compressed and therefore will look to a couple more outsiders, one that interests me is Forza Milan at a juicy 66/1. He has some decent form this year finishing fourth in a 3 mile 5 handicap the winner being Court Maid who was an early fancy for this race the second, third and fourth finished in a bunch that day and I'd be happy with that form as one of a few runners who has actually run over the marathon sort of trip. She then dropped back to just under three miles beating Coko Beach that day, who has since gone on to win a Grade 2 Chase with Forza Milan behind in third. For 66/1 with a lot of likely non runners, I'll happily have a small bet each way NRNB.

At an even bigger price we have Milanford who has been running in some decent enough chases finishing 2nd on all three occasions. The best of which being a close second in a grade two chase. He is a huge 100/1 here and if turning up I think will be much shorter with the non runners. We know he stays at least three being strong at the finish, so again I'll be having a small each way bet NRNB.

With Forza Milan and Milanford Non runners we just have Snow Leoprdess running for us in this one- NRNB advised so money back no harm done.

Selection –

Snow Leopardess 33/1 0.5pts each way

Forza Milan 66/1 0.25pts each way - NON RUNNER

Milanford 100/1 0.25pts each way - NON RUNNER

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