Connect with us

Betting

ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE: The interesting British runner that can take the Tuesday contest at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival

We have a 12-1 shot that you need to back in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival later this month

Published

on

Fantastikas ridden by jockey Sam Twiston-Davies on their way to winning the Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Novices' Chase during day one of The Winter Million Festival at Lingfield Park Racecourse, Surrey. Picture date: Friday January 21, 2022.

SELECTION: FANTASTIKAS | 14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

After a 23-5 battering in the Prestbury Cup last season, the Irish domination in Gloucestershire has left plenty to be desired as crowds prepare to descend on the enclosures of the Home of Jumps Racing once again for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.

But one contest that Britain can always rely on stealing from their rivals across the sea is the Ultima Handicap Chase, the first handicap of the week which is ran over the three-mile and one furlong trip on the opening day.

Not since 2006 has an Irish raider taken this event, with the home nation winning the previous 11 renewals, including last year as Vintage Clouds saw off all-comers to win at the fifth time of asking.

WATCH: VINTAGE CLOUDS WINS THE ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE FOR THE FIRST TIME UNDER RYAN MANIA [CREDIT: RACING TV]

Quite remarkably, that success for Sue Smith’s grey put Britain 2-1 up after the first trio of races, and they would go onto record only a further three victories for the remainder of the week.

However, with far more strength in this year’s Supreme and the current Arkle favourite, the runners-up from twelve months ago could race into an early 3-0 lead if all goes their way this time around.

Cheltenham Supreme
The Cheltenham Festival is now only a week away, kickstarting on Tuesday 15th March

And the horse that can temporarily continue the early wet sail is FANTASTIKAS.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’s novice carried some very strong hurdle form into this sphere and is two from four over fences, with both wins coming at Lingfield Park (also left-handed).

Since his debut at the Surrey track, six of the eight that followed him home that day have won since, giving him a major form boost.

Imperial Aura National Hunt
Fantastikas could take on fellow Imperial Racing-owned Imperial Alcazar next Tuesday in the Ultima Handicap Chase

He ran a cracker at Cheltenham in the Dipper on New Year’s Day, finishing third to L’homme Press and The Glancing Queen – both of whom have huge chances at the Festival themselves, and that was over a shorter-than-ideal trip.

With a mark of 144, he looks off a very nice weight of 10:06 – 17 of the last 21 winners have the race have had under 11st on their back.

Nigel Twiston-Davies Uttoxeter
Nigel Twiston-Davies last won the Ultima in 1992

He’s only 1lb higher than last year’s winner but at 7-years-old, he’s very unexposed and his second to Brown Advisory fancy Threeunderthrufive is solid enough form to boot.

To add, three of the last six winners of the race have been out of a French dam (Un Temps Pour Tout x2, Coo Star Sivola) – the son of Davidoff falling right into that category with his links to Negresse De Cuta.

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.