Twenty fences over an extended three miles await a maximum field of twenty-four runners which mainly consist of real staying types.
Many former Grand National runners as well as future Grand National runners end up running in this stamina-sapping contest. Despite attracting such large fields, the winner tends to be featured within the top four in the betting.
Golden Chieftain was the biggest priced horse win this in the last decade at odds of 28/1 for Colin Tizzard and Brendan Powell.
The older horses seem to fare better than their younger rivals with eight and nine-year-olds faring particularly well, although ten-year-olds have only taken two of the last twenty renewals (Chief Dan George in 2010 and Joes Edge in 2007) and most horses come home in and around six minutes.
David Pipe and Jonjo O’Neill have fared well in this race in the past having won it three times apiece. Nicky Henderson and Alan King have won this handicap twice.
In what is quite an unbelievable stat only two Irish trained horses have won this race since the turn of the millennium (Youlneverwalkalone 2003 and Dun Doire in 2006).
In comparison, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Venetia Williams, Paul Nicholls, Philip Hobbs and Sue Smith have all tried to win this on multiple occasions and failed.
Tom Scudamore, Riche McLernon and Brendan Powell have all won the race more than once and all three are likely to participate this year once again.
Richard Johnson and Aidan Coleman have never won the race despite having had more than ten attempts each.
Previous Winners of the Ultima Handicap Chase
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for Ultima Challenge Chase 2021.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
Remember to shop around as many bookmakers will offer enhanced place betting on this type of race.
Escaria Ten – Denise Foster
The seven-year-old who comes here looking quite unexposed. He has only had a handful of rides the latest of which came at Naas in January when second to Eklat De Rire.
That was his first attempt at a graded race and he acquitted himself well going down only by a little under two lengths. The front two pulled six lengths clear of the useful Pencilfulloflead.
A switch to fences and a step up to three miles seem to have brought this gelding into his own.
He seeks to become the first Irish trained winner of this race since 2006 and if he were to run here he would be doing so in the colours of the race sponsor.
If taking his chance, he looks to have solid claims.
Happygolucky – Kim Bailey
Ran a perfectly good trial for this when winning a novices’ chase over the course and distance back in December.
Three of the last seven winners of this race were novices and he recorded his highest Racing Post Rating when running over the trip for the first time on that last occasion.
Kim Bailey has only seen his seven-year-old finish outside the first three places on occasion and that came here in last year’s Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle when he finished fourth at a double figure price.
He remains progressive and could well shake up a few of these.
Aye Right – Harriet Graham
This is his only entry for the Festival and based on his solid second to Cloth Cap in the Ladbroke Chase, he has to command utmost respect.
He ran a fair race last time out in preparation for this with a good second to Takingrisks at Doncaster.
Horses that run in the Ladbroke and then come for this race have a very good record taking four of the last seven renewals.
He has won on all sorts of ground so is particularly versatile.
In twenty-two runs under rules he has only unseated his rider once and you can usually set your clock by him. A live contender.
One For The Team – Nick Williams
One For The Team has not won a chase despite four previous attempts.
He has been tried in listed and Grade One races of late though, so will appreciate this return to handicap company.
He has won over three miles at Newbury and tends to run well at this level. A return to decent group will also suit rather than the quagmire he faced at Doncaster last time.
The yard won this in 2018 and he has to be respected.
Remastered – David Pipe
Remastered has enjoyed premium conditions on his two most recent runs where he won at both Ascot and Wetherby in bottomless ground.
He really seemed to appreciate the step up in distance and he ran out a convincing winner on both occasions.
David Pipe can certainly ready them for handicaps such as this at the Festival and took back to back renewals of this race with Un Temps Pour Tout in 2016 and 2017.
If the rains were to arrive they would certainly enhance his chances.
Alnadam – Dan Skelton
Alnadam is a particularly consistent sort and has won two of his last three starts.
He is another that would appreciate any precipitation as all of his best runs have come on soft or heavy ground.
He would need to step up again and improve for the step up to three miles for the first time if he was to get involved at the finish.
The yard are in good form but there are too many questions hanging over him.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2021 Ultima Handicap Chase Tips
Aye Right ran a great race in the Ladbroke behind Cloth Cap and enjoyed a nice warm up for this with another fine second at Doncaster over three miles last time.
If he lines up here he is more than capable of playing a part in the finish. He may have been no match for Champ in the RSA last season but this is certainly more his level.
Callum Bewley has a great relationship with the eight-year-old and the pair look a massive price at the time of writing.
Remastered has done nothing wrong this year for David Pipe. He must be feared given both David Pipe and Tom Scudamore’s record in the race.
Snow Leopardess is a gallant mare and will be staying on through beaten horses when they have cried enough.
Odds With Betfred – correct at time of publication
- 10/3 Happygolucky
- 11/2 Aye Right
- 7/1 Milan native
- 8/1 Alnadam
- 17/2 One For The Team
- 12/1 Pym
- 14/1 Discordantly
- 20/1 Cepage
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