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Grand Annual Chase Tips - 4:50pm Cheltenham

2020 Grand Annual Chase Preview

The fast and furious Grand Annual Chase used to be the last race of the whole week but has recently changed places with the Martin Pipe race. It’s a difficult race to weight up and last year was won by 12 yo Croco Bay who started at 66/1. Only one horse who won last time out has followed up here in the last ten years and its pretty even between the home side and the Irish raiders so no extra clue there.

Paul Nicholls won in 2013 and 2016 with a couple of young ex-French horses and this time has another in the shape of Greaneteen, a 6yo who was formerly with Guillaume Macaire.

The horse didn’t exactly set the world alight over hurdles, he won a couple of novice events but it was only when he went over fences that his true potential began to show. He won a Class 3 race on his chasing debut and then followed up at Musselburgh with an easy victory. Last time out he bolted up at Fakenham and now has his first go in a handicap. It’s a typical path for a Nicholls festival plot and should go well.

Stable mate Capeland is worth looking at, he's the mount of Bryony Frost and it will be the first time she has been back on him since that infamous last fence drama at Ascot back in November. The horse won next time out under Harry Cobden and has since been running out of his depth in much better races.

The 13yo Gino Trail would bring the house down if he won for Fergal O'Brien and Paddy Brennan. Formerley with Kerry Lee the old front running warrior bounce right back to form last time out at Doncaster and booked his ticket to run here, his third Festival on the trot.

Alan King saddles Lisp, a horse that was 5th in the County Hurdle here last season. He made his chasing debut at Warwick in November and was a fair 3rd to Torpillo. He found a much easier opportunity next time out at Plumpton and that victory puts him in line for the bonus if he was to follow up here.

Last time out Lisp was only 3rd to Mister Fisher at Doncaster in a Grade 2 which has probably dictated which direction connections went here so he now has his first race in a handicap off a mark of 144.

Irish trainer Gordon Elliott always has a strong hand in these handicaps and his Chosen Mate was ear-marked for this contest after his win at Gowran Park in January. He was a 142 rated hurdler and has had just 3 starts over fences. He finished behind the likes of Melon and Annamix on his first two starts and then came good at Gowran. He’s been given a mark of 147 by the English handicapper and has scope for more improvement.

Elliott also has Eclair De Beaufeu a 6yo who made his chasing debut in a Grade 3 contest in December at Navan. He was third to Tornado Flyer that day and was a solid platform to work from.

Next time out he improved immensely to win the Matheson Handicap at the Dublin Festival by 2 ½ lengths from Paloma Blue. He won that off 140 and has been raised 9lbs here. Obviously he has not finished yet and could go well as long as the lack of experience doesn’t count against him here.

That was also a god effort by Paloma Blue at Leopardstown, the Henry De Bromhead trained 8yo was 6th in the Arkle last season and has done little wrong this term. His best effort was probably running third to Riders On the Storm at Ascot, that was over a longer trip and is more suited to this stiff two miles.

In a race named after his father it’s pretty obvious that Nicky Henderson would enjoy having a tilt at this prize . He managed it back in 2009 with Andytown but has been off the target since. Theinval has been placed in this race twice but to be honest has been badly out of form on soft ground so far this season. He could bounce back on a track he loves and at the time of year he seems to like.

Of the others Marracudja could go well for Dan Skelton, he was the horse that made the headlines for finishing 3rd behind Defi Du Seuil in the Clarence House Chase and was then promptly out up 11lbs in the weights.

He only ran in that race to pick up some prize money and ended up only getting beat 7 ½ lengths, the handicapper was criticised for taking the form too literally so now we will see how he goes with the extra weight.

Punters Lounge Tip: Chosen Mate EW 10/1 at bet365 - Click Here To Bet
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