With the relaxation of restrictions, the amateur jockeys are back for what is their equivalent of the Gold Cup.
The Irish have dominated this sphere although last year Porlock Bay tilted it back towards team GB.
For form coming into this it often pays to follow those who contested either the Down Royal Hunter Chase on Boxing Day or the Champion Hunter Chase at last season’s Punchestown Festival.
Statistics wise horses aged eleven or older have won just five times in the last thirty renewals and eight of the last seventeen winners contested this race the previous season.
It often pays to back last time out winners in this race as they have won twenty-five of the last thirty-five renewals.
Previous Winners of the Open Hunters Chase
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Open Hunters Chase 2022.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
BILLAWAY – WILLIE MULLINS
Billaway is lightly raced for a ten-year-old and has been second in the last two running’s of this race, last year failing by a short head when well clear of the third.
He has subsequently been beaten in races won by three of today’s rivals but all that might not count for much back here and he won his prep race well in first-time cheekpieces, that are retained.
He is a big player once more.
BOB AND CO – PAUL NICHOLLS
Bob And Co Moved as well as anything when unseating three out in this last year and went on to win his next two races when facing much easier tasks at Hexham and then edging out Billaway at Punchestown.
He has been beaten by Cousin Pascal at Haydock but he got tired in the heavy ground after nine months off and, all things considered, it was a perfectly acceptable practice.
Odd that his headgear is left off today and that looks likely to be to his detriment.
WINGED LEADER – DAVID CHRISTIE
Winged Leader has won a multitude of races in the pointing scene and, although his strike-rate in hunter chases isn’t quite so fancy, he did produce his best form yet in making light work of Billaway at Thurles last time.
The Mullins horse has had his measure before but it could be that this one is improving, as eight years old is nothing in this scene and he handles all sorts of ground.
PONT AVEN – JP OWEN
Pont Aven was in and out for Willie Mullins but very useful on his day.
He could very easily be unbeaten for his current connections had he not fallen on his debut on a PTP at Horseheath.
His win last time was a wide margin one, albeit in a race he was entitled to win.
He is still only a nine-year-old and very much enters the reckoning.
DUBAI QUEST – T ELLIS
Dubai Quest made it seven wins on the spin including five points and two hunter chases, when beating a former National Hunt Chase winner at Wetherby last month.
Confidence amongst connections will be feverish as he is clearly a winning machine.
Another good round of jumping would see him in the thick of it.
LORD SCHNITZEL – DECLAN QUEALLY
Lord Schnitzel is an Irish challenger who has been making hay in points.
He was last seen winning a Limerick hunter chase at Christmas on heavy ground so conditions are at his optimum.
He could have a bold show in him if taking to a visor.
MIGHTY STOWAWAY – GORDON ELLIOTT
Mighty Stowaway was 33-1 when a remote sixth in this 12 months ago and doesn’t look in any better form this season despite winning some points back home in Ireland.
His headgear returns after he ran poorly last time and much better required.
IT CAME TO PASS – EUGINE O’SULLIVAN
It Came To Pass was a shock ten length winner of this two years ago.
He was a remote seventh in it last year and again well beaten next time at Punchestown in a race dominated by Bob And Co and Billaway.
Seems as though his best days are behind him and not wildly enthusiastic about it now.
2022 Open Hunters Chase Tips & Key Trends
PONT AVEN has really taken to this game since leaving Willie Mullins and the yard at Closutton.
His last two wins have been wide-margin and comfortable successes and he can carry that forward here.
He is still only a nine-year-old so undoubtedly has much more to offer in this sphere. He is suggested as an each-way bet.
SELECTION: PONT AVEN E/W
- 10 of the last 12 winners had a BHA rating of 134+
- 6 of the past 12 winners finished in the first 5 the previous year
- The past 7 winners were aged 10 or 11
Odds With Betfred – correct at time of publication
- 5/2 Billaway
- 5/1 Winged Leader
- 7/1 Bob And Co
- 10/1 Pont Aven
- 14/1 Cousin Pascal
- 14/1 Dubai Quest
- 16/1 Lord Schnitzel
- 18/1 Mighty Stowaway
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