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National Hunt Novices' Chase 2023 Trends

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 6 mins

National Hunt Novices' Chase 2023 Trends

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2023 National Hunt Novices' Chase Trends

The last 10 winners:

  • Had run at least three times over fences*
  • Had run at least twice that season, and four times in the past 12 months
  • Had won a hurdle race
  • Had won no more than four chases, if any

* 2022 winner Stattler was the second horse since 1990 and the first since 1999 to win having had fewer than two runs over fences.

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Last ran at least 31 days ago (exception Minella Rocco, 24 days)
  • Did not run in a handicap last time out (exception Ravenhill in 2020)
  • Had run in a chase over at least 3m before - eight winning at least once(Le Breuil had not run over further than 2m7 1/2f)
  • Were ridden by a jockey based in Ireland(exception the Joshua Newman-ridden Midnight Prayer)

Eight of the last 10 winners:

  • Had won at least one chase (Cause Of Causes and Minella Rocco had not)
  • Had never won at Cheltenham before, but seven had run there previously (Tiger Roll and Galvin had won)

Key Trials in the last 10 years

The are no standout trials for the National Hunt Novices' Chase, mainly due to it being such a long race at 3m6f. However, it pays to follow Grade 3 novices chases run over 2m4f-3m in January and February.

Look for horses in those races that did not win, but were placed or ran well. 2019 winner Le Breuil, for example, finished fourth in the Grade 2 Altcar Novices' Chase over 2m4f at Haydock, on his last run before Cheltenham Festival success, and Minella Rocco was second in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot before his victory in 2016.

The 2022 winner Stattler won a 3m1f Grade 3 novice chase at Naas on his last run before Cheltenham. The third that day, Vanillier, filled the same position at Cheltenham. He had previously been third in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown, where Cheltenham second Run Wild Fred had been runner-up.

Four placed horses have come from the Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan, so that's one to keep a keen eye on and it's worth noting only four of the last 12 winners had previously won a Graded race, while only four of the last 10 winners won their last outing.

Trainer Trends

  • Gordon Elliott is a master in this contest, winning the race four times since 2011. Interestingly, 2022 second Run Wild Fred was his first placed runner. Before that he’d never had a placed horse in the race - it's generally all or nothing for his runners.
  • Willie Mullins has saddled three winners and three placed horses from 16 runners in the past 10 years. He was expected to collect again in 2020 but odds-on favourite Carefully Selected was beaten when unseating his rider at the final fence.
  • Jonjo O’Neill is the race’s winning-most trainer (5) but he’s only landed it once (Minella Rocco in 2016) since 2007.

Jockey Trends

This race is restricted to amateur riders and those based in Ireland have won 11 of the last 12 renewals. Patrick Mullins has now joined Jamie Codd as the race's winning-most jockey, with his 2022 win being his third. Both are significant bookings to watch out for. In 2021, COVID-19 restrictions on travel by amateur sports people meant that amateur riders did not take part in the Cheltenham Festival.

How did the trends do last year?

The fact Stattler had only had two runs over fences, marked him out on trends. To win he bucked a National Hunt trend that has been firmly adhered to since 1999. He was a guaranteed stayer, and came from a strong stable, with a strong jockey booking, but was overlooked as lacking the experience traditionally needed.

With the race dropping from 4m to 3m6f in recent years, there's every chance this is an emerging trend to watch. The fact he was the second successive winner to have won his last race, after six years of this not happening is also worth noting. The stronger fit to the trends was second Run Wild Fred, who came from the race's leading stable, was a proven stayer, and had run numerous times over fences, though importantly had only one once.

Who Fits The Trends Best In 2023?

The profile of this race is changing with the reduction in distance and as such a classier novice chaser now tends to be the winner. From the top stables of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, two Grade 1 winners currently top the trends picks for this race in Galliard Du Mesnil and Chemical Energy.

But the latter's stablemates Frontal Assault and Gerri Colombe are also intriguing. The Jonathan Sweeney-trained Churchstonewarrior is also a very solid trends selection for the National Hunt Chase.

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2022 National Hunt Novices' Chase Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st Stattler 2/1 Willie Mullins Patrick Mullins
2nd Run Wild Fred 15/8f Gordon Elliott Jamie Codd
3rd Vanillier 11/4 Gavin Cromwell Derek O'Connor

About the Author

Jessica Lamb is a multi-media journalist who specializes in horse racing, cycling and sports betting and has worked on desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun newspapers.