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Cheltenham Key Trends: Close Brothers Handicap

| 14.03.2017

We take a look at the key trends for the Close Brothers Handicap Chase in the hope we can find you the winner…

We continue our key trends coverage with the Close Brothers Handicap Chase, the final race on Day One of the Festival. You can find the trends we’ve picked out below, we’ll then take you through each and find out which horses the stats point to.

Close Brothers Handicap trends

8 of the last 11 winners either won or finished 2nd in their last race before Cheltenham

If you decide to follow this particular trend, you’ll still have a bumper 12 horses to choose from in this field of 20. Of those, Foxtail Hill, who is at the head of the market, has to be of interest, having won impressively at Kempton in January before grinding out victory at Cheltenham last time out. Sam Twiston-Davies returns to the saddle for this race and will get plenty of support.

6 of the last 11 winners were officially rated between 133-135

This trend can’t be applied to this year’s renewal, as the lowest rated horse goes in on an official rating of 137, with highest having an official rating of 142, such is the competitive nature of this handicap chase.

7 of the last 11 winners had won no more than once over fences

This stat points to two horses in particular near the head of the market in Tully East and Burtons Well. Alan Fleming’s seven year old landed a beginners chase over at Thurles back in December and has since found himself up against quality opposition, so it’s difficult to knock him for the manner of his defeats and he must be in with a shout. So too must Burtons Well, who is a very lightly raced eight year old running for Venetia Williams. He won a tough assignment at Uttoxeter in December and followed that up with a solid effort at Cheltenham in January. Keep an eye on him, with Charlie Deutsch claiming a vital 3lb.

4 of the last 11 winners had run in the previous year’s Cheltenham

Of the runners that this trend applies to, Dan Skelton’s Its’afreebee must be of particular interest. The seven year old made the trip to Prestbury Park 12 months ago to line up in the Neptune and ran admirably, finishing a very respectable third behind Yorkhill and Yanworth. He’ll be facing nothing of that quality this time around though and can capitalise on that.


Delving into the trends, it difficult to look past Its’afreebee for Coral Racing Ambassador Dan Skelton. He’s run very well against top quality opposition, he’s been to a Festival before and comes into the race fit after getting two prep runs under his belt in January.

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Daniel McKeown