Grand Annual Chase Tips 2021 – Preview, Odds and Trends (4.50pm Cheltenham Day 2)
The Grand Annual Chase is a Grade Three handicap chase run over 2 miles 62 yards on the New Course at Cheltenham.
In recent years, the race has been scheduled as the penultimate race of the Festival, on day four, but has been moved to day two to accommodate the new Mrs. Paddy Power Mares’ Chase. Two favourites have won in the last ten years, but the race has also produced winners at 66/1, 40/1, 28/1, 20/1 and 16/1 (twice) in that period.
Grand Annual Odds
|Epsom Du Houx||16/1||bet365|
|Magic Saint||20/1||William Hill|
|Chosen Mate||20/1||William Hill|
Grand Annual Preview – The Main Contenders
- Sky Pirate
- Epson Du Houx
- Daly Tiger
Ante-post favourite Sky Pirate (8/1) is an obvious starting point. Previously an exasperating maiden over fences, Jonjo O’Neill’s 8-year-old proved a revelation over this course and distance in December, cruising to a 3¾-length victory over subsequent winner Ibleo without coming off the bridle.
He followed up, off an 11lb higher mark, in a similarly valuable race at Warwick in January and, although he’s gone up another 7lb as a result, there’s no telling where his improvement might end. On the downside, he is now rated 152, 2lb higher than the highest-rated horse to win the Grand Annual Chase in the last ten years, and O’Neill has an uninspiring 0-12 record in this race.
Epson Du Houx
Epson Du Houx (16/1), trained by Gordon Elliott, fell at the final fence, when beaten, in a beginners’ chase at Wexford in October, but made amends when winning a similar race at Clonmel in December and following up, on his handicap debut, at Naas in January. A 13lb rise in the weights obviously makes life more difficult for him, but he remains something of a ‘dark horse’, even if he has shown a marked preference for heavy going, at least so far.
Paul Nicholls has won the Grand Annual Chase four times, most recently in 2018, so his entries are always worth a second look. Greaneteen (16/1) finished fourth, beaten 5½ lengths, last year, but is 11lb higher in the weights this time around after winning the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter and finishing second to stable companion Politologue in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown. He looks to gave plenty on his plate off a mark of 161.
A similar comment applies to Magic Saint (25/1), who finished tenth in this race in 2019, off a mark of 149, but is now rated 158, while Grade One-winning hurdler Quel Destin (20/1), rated 147 over fences, hardly inspires confidence after being pulled-up in a four-runner novices’ chase at Cheltenham on his latest outing.
Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs has a dismal 0-16 record in the race, but appears to have a chance of breaking his duck with Gumball (25/1). The 7-year-old contested the Champion Hurdle last year, albeit finishing ‘out with the washing’ at 100/1, but looks a decent addition to the chasing ranks.
According to jockey Richard Johnson, he would have won the Grade Two November Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in November, but for falling two out and, again, made a bad mistake three out when last of four behind Shiskin in the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas. However, he had previously jumped well when winning easily at Uttoxeter, so is by no means a forlorn hope.
Daly Tiger (25/1), trained by Noel Meade, weakened from the final fence when only ninth in the Northern Trust Novices’ Chase last year, but has already won valuable handicap chases at Punchestown and Fairyhouse in his second season over fences. A 10lb rise for the latter success means that he needs a career-best, by some margin, to win here, but he boasts strong form and should not be underestimated.
Grand Annual Betting Tips
Despite a safety limit of just 20, the Grand Annual Chase is no easier a puzzle to solve than any of the other Festival handicaps. Gumball has been mooted as a possible contender for the Arkle Challenge Trophy, but this looks a more realistic target; if he can avoid the jumping errors that have blighted his fledgling chasing career so far, he could go well at a decent price.
Selection: Gumball – 25/1 with bet365.
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Grand Annual Trends
Age – 9 of the last 12 winners were aged between 7 and 9.
Price – 2 of the last 12 winners have been favourites, 4/12 winners were in the top 3 in the betting.
Last Run – 2/12 winners won on their last run before the Grand Annual Chase, 9/12 winners had their last run within the last 90 days.
Previous Course Form – 10/12 winners had at least 1 previous run at Cheltenham, 6/12 winners had at least 1 previous win at Cheltenham.
Previous Distance Form – 10/12 winners had at least 10 previous runs over 15-17 furlongs, 10/12 winners had at least 3 previous wins over 15-17 furlongs.
Previous Hurdle Form – 11/12 winners had at least 5 previous runs over hurdles, 10/12 winners had at least 2 previous wins over hurdles.
Previous Chase Form – 11/12 winners had at least 4 previous chase runs, 11/12 winners had at least 1 previous chase win.
Rating – 10/12 winners had a rating of 138 or higher.
Season Form – 10/12 winners had at least 3 previous runs that season, 3/12 winners had at least 1 win that season.
Grand Annual Previous Winners
|2009||Oh Crick||Wayne Hutchinson||Alan King|
|2010||Pigeon Island||Paddy Brennan||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|2011||Oiseau De Nuit||S Clements||Colin Tizzard|
|2012||Bellvano||Paul Carberry||Nicky Henderson|
|2013||Alderwood||A P McCoy||Thomas Mullins|
|2014||Savello||Davy Russell||A J Martin|
|2015||Next Sensation||Tom Scudamore||Michael Scudamore|
|2016||Solar Impulse||Sam Twiston-Davies||Paul Nicholls|
|2017||Rock The World||Robbie Power||Mrs John Harrington|
|2018||Le Prezien||Barry Geraghty||Paul Nicholls|
|2019||Croco Bay||Kielan Woods||Ben Case|
|2020||Chosen Mate||Davy Russell||Gordon Elliott|
Grand Annual Result 2020
1st – Chosen Mate (7/2)
2nd – Eclair De Beaufeu (13/2)
3rd – Us and Them (10/1)
4th – Greanteen (5/1)
Grand Annual FAQs
At the time of writing, Sky Pirate is the 5/1 favourite for the Grand Annual but this market is likely to change a lot as we get closer to the start of the Cheltenham Festival.