Cheltenham Festival – Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase

This race is the final one on the first day at Prestbury Park. Taking place Tuesday 13th March at 17.30 GMT, and covering 2 miles and 4 and a half furlongs, this Listed chase is for novice chasers only over 5 years old. Run on the Old Course, over 16 fences, with a prize fund of £70,000.


Previously sponsored by Jewson and introduced in 2005 to the Cheltenham Festival, this race is usually crammed with fast improving entrants, with at least 5 of the last 7 winners coming to the race on the back of a triumph. This race requires the horses to go at a strong gallop, with them getting into an early rhythm, to tackle the 16 fences.


Previous winners were Tully East in 2017, with jockey D O’Regan, and in 2016, Ballyalton ridden by B Hughes. The handicap has a limit to horses under 140 lbs but with the many entrants, all rated within a few pounds of this handicap ceiling, it promises to be a very closely matched race.


The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase is a very challenging race to win, and although the race doesn’t provide many previous statistics, Irish trainers have won 2 out of the last 10.


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