This race has often proved a tricky race to solve but it can pay to have had a previous run at this track in order to partly solve the problem.
Rock The World, Le Prezien, Oiseau De Nuit and Next Sensation had all run previously at the track before winning this race.
Nine of the last twelve winners were novices or second season chasers and eight of the last fifteen runners had run in the race previously.
It seems to pay to follow horses who are specifically targeted at this and have had at least a three-month break as five of the last six winners have done so.
Favourites have an appalling record in the race with only two obliging in the past decade.
Previous Winners of the Grand Annual Handicap Chase
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Grand Annual Handicap Chase 2022.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
BUDDY RICH – GORDON ELLIOTT
Buddy Rich has maintained his good form all year. He got some experience of this track into him when he finished runner-up to Third Time Lucki in a Novice Chase over this course and distance back in October.
He has been given a three-month break following six runs in quick succession.
He ought to be fresh coming into this race and no surprise if this has been his main target all along.
The yard took this with Chosen Mate in 2020 and if Davy Russell is booked to ride then he would be a definite for the shortlist.
THYME WHITE – PAUL NICHOLLS
Thyme White arrives here in good form but he hasn’t been seen since winning a handicap at Doncaster back in December.
The six-year-old is beat the likes of Nero Rock and Benny’s Bridge and nothing has come out to frank the form since.
He has run at this track twice before and ran disappointingly on both occasions. For that reason, I would sway away from him.
ANDY DUFRESNE – GORDON ELLIOTT
Andy Dufresne comes here as a fresh horse as he hasn’t been seen since finishing runner-up to Captain Guinness in the Grade 3 Poplar Square Chase at Naas.
All of his best form has come at this two-mile trip and novices’ do have a recent good record in this race.
Owner JP McManus seems to specifically target this race and has enjoyed much success down the years with Fota Island, Bellvano, Alderwood and Le Prezien.
He has to be high on any shortlist.
AMARILLO SKY – COLIN TIZZARD
Amarillo Sky looks set to contest his toughest race to date but he has been a model of consistency all year.
The six-year-old son of Westerner won a handicap at Newbury on his most recent start by no fewer than ten lengths.
That may prove his undoing though as no horse has won a handicap and then come and won here, certainly not in the last decade.
Only one horse as young as him has won this race in the last ten years, so that is another negative.
EMBITTERED – JOSEPH O’BRIEN
Embittered came here last year for this race but fell in the race that was ultimately won by Sky Pirate.
Since then he has come back to win two races at Punchestown and Kilbeggan to his credit.
He has proved most disappointing in his two most recent races against Graded opposition.
He will like this step back into handicap company though. If he can stay on his feet he can make the frame.
SKY PIRATE – JONJO O’NEILL
Sky Pirate returns to defend his crown but he has not won any race in all that time.
He finished last of four in a Grade 2 chase at Newbury back in February and prior to that he was firmly put in his place by Brave Seasca.
He needs to find something more in order to turn that form around and he will need to be at the top of his game to shoulder top-weight around here.
Whilst this is usually a better race for team GB, he looks up against it here.
EXIT POLL – JESSICA HARRINGTON
Exit Poll was well fancied but disappointed last time out behind A Wave Of The Sea during the Dublin Racing Festival.
He has never raced outside of Ireland before and a lack of experience at this track would be a massive disadvantage.
He managed to win a Grade 3 chase at Roscommon last season when beating Embittered. His runs this season seem to suggest that Jessie Harrington wants to get him to as low a mark as possible.
Not sure if he will participate here or wait for Fairyhouse or Punchestown.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2022 Grand Annual Handicap Chase Tips & Key Trends
ANDY DUFRESNE looks to have been purposefully routed for this race and the decision to have kept him off the track since November could reap massive dividends for Gordon Elliott and JP McManus.
Whilst he has no previous experience around here, he is a decent novice and they have a good recent record in this particular event.
Mark Walsh prefers him to Wave Of The Sea and the hint has to be followed.
- Davy Russell has won this 3 times since 2008
- 9 of the past 11 winners were rated between 138-147
- 7 of the past 8 winners carried 11 stone or more
Odds With Paddy Power – correct at time of publication
- 11/2 Buddy Rich
- 15/2 Embittered
- 8/1 Amarillo Sky
- 8/1 Thyme White
- 10/1 Andy Dufresne
- 12/1 Editeur Du Gite
- 14/1 Sky Pirate