Novices Handicap Chase
What You Need to Know
- The Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase, the 2016 name is The Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase for sponsorship reasons, is a Listed National Hunt race held on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival 15th March 2016.
- The race is around 2 miles in length and features 16 fences. It is open to novice horses aged five years or older and a total prize purse of £60,000 is on offer.
- The race is the last one on Champion Day and starts at 5.30pm.
- Dating back to just 2005, it is one of the newest of all the Cheltenham Festival races, but it has already gained a loyal following and is a big hit with the crowds and with betting enthusiasts looking to make some money on the action.
- This is a race where the handicap can play a big role. If you do want to make a bet, then, make sure you know what the latest handicap rules are, including any upper ceiling that might be in force.
- Form, as always, is key. Nine of the past nine winners have finished in the top five of all their previous races going into Cheltenham, so again, it's important to do your homework here.
- The race will be shown live on Sky Sports and Bet365 Live stream, or you can go and see the action in person. Tickets for Champions Day are available on the day itself, though seats in the best enclosures tend to sell out well in advance.
- Get some free cash to bet with, see our top 10 bookie offers.
What is The Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase?
The Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase, now known as The Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase due to its current sponsors, is a Listed National Hunt race held on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
As the name suggests, the race is open to novice horses, meaning horses aged five-years-old and up, and is run on the famous Old Course at Cheltenham. The race is around 2 miles in length and features 16 fences. A prize purse of £60,000, including a first prize of £35,000, is on offer.
The 2016 Novices' Handicap Chase: This Year's Favourite
As a novice's race, this can often be a hard event to predict since there are many relatively-unknown horses competing. The exact field of runners due to take place in the race has yet to be finalised in the days leading up to the start of the Festival. However, trainer Warren Greatrex is being backed to win with his young horse Aloomomo who so far has a win ratio of 50% although he has only has six races.
The Latest Odds and All the Runners
Again, the final field and the final odds look likely to keep changing right up until the very start of the race, so keep coming back to see the confirmed horses and latest odds as shown:
Betting on the Novices' Handicap Chase
The Novices' Handicap Chase is one of the tougher races of the whole Cheltenham Festival when it comes to correctly picking a winner. Not only are many of the horses relatively unknown, since the format and length of the race has been changed a few times since 2011, it's hard to find any notable trends.
If you do still fancy having a flutter on the action, and if you can't get to the Cheltenham Festival, then you should get online and open a sports betting account. Check out this list of the very best sports betting sites out there right now, and sign up for an account today to take advantage of some fantastic opening offers such as up to £200 cashback on your first bet.
Remember that there is no guaranteed way of beating the bookie, regardless of how much you know about racing. However, a little knowledge can improve your chances of placing a good bet. For instance, you might want to take the following into account when placing a bet:
- This is a race where the handicap can play a big role. Make sure you know what the latest handicap rules are, including any upper ceiling that might be in force.
- Form, as always, is key. Nine of the past nine winners have finished in the top five of all their previous races going into Cheltenham.
- All past winners have also won a race over a distance of more than 2 miles and 2 furlongs before entering the race.
- All past winners have been aged between five and eight-years-old.
History of the Novices' Handicap Chase
The Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase is one of the newest, not just at the Cheltenham Festival but in the whole of the British racing calendar. It was set up in 2005, the year when the Festival was extended from three days to four.
From the very start, the race captured the imagination of the Cheltenham crowds. Indeed, inaugural winner Mattie Batchelor went on to win the Lester Award for the Jump Ride of the Year for her winning performance of the year, helping draw attention to the race and increase its prestige.
In 2011, the race was moved from the third day of the Festival to the first day, and it now serves as the closer to the opening day's action. Since 2015, the race has been sponsored by CHAPS Restaurants Barbados.
Previous Year’s Winners
|2005||King Harald||7||Mattie Batchelor||Mark Bradstock|
|2006||Reveillez||7||Tony McCoy||James Fanshawe|
|2007||L'Antartique||7||Graham Lee||Ferdy Murphy|
|2008||Finger Onthe Pulse||7||Barry Geraghty||Tom Taaffe|
|2009||Chapoturgeon||5||Timmy Murphy||Paul Nicholls|
|2010||Copper Bleu||8||Richard Johnson||Philip Hobbs|
|2011||Divers||7||Graham Lee||Ferdy Murphy|
|2012||Hunt Ball||7||Nick Scholfield||Keiran Burke|
|2013||Rajdhani Express||6||Mr Sam Waley-Cohen||Nicky Henderson|
|2014||Present View||6||Brendan Powell jnr||Jamie Snowden|
|2015||Irish Cavalier||6||Paul Townend||Rebecca Curtis|
Attending the Cheltenham Festival
The CHAPS Restaurants Barbados Novices' handicap Chase takes place on Champions Day, the opening day of the world famous Cheltenham Festival. In 2015, it takes place on Tuesday 10 March.
If you want to be there to experience the famous Cheltenham, then tickets are available from Champions Day page of the Cheltenham Festival website.
Tickets range from £25 for an advanced single to £35 on the day, with more expensive options and a range of packages available. Be aware that whilst the Cheltenham Festival does not have a dress code, in some areas fancy dress is not permitted, and in the Club Enclosure it is usual for men to wear suits, and ladies to wear hats during the Festival.
Anyone who is looking to attend, should think about booking their tickets as early as possible as they get more expensive as the Festival gets closer.
How to Get to Cheltenham Racecourse
Cheltenham Racecourse is located just outside the picturesque Gloucestershire market town of Cheltenham Spa.
Trains are easily available from London (taking about two hours), Birmingham (about 35 minutes) and Bristol (35 minutes). The racecourse is a ten minute taxi journey from the station and during the festival there is a free shuttle bus in operation.
If arriving by car, the nearest motorway is the M5, with the racecourse being clearly signposted in both directions. Parking is available but there is a charge during the festival.
Buses 527 and D from Cheltenham town centre stop near the racecourse, and during the festival there is a free shuttle bus which runs from Cheltenham Spa Station and outside the WH Smith.
- You can find out about some of the other top class races at the Festival, with our comprehensive guides to the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Arkle Challenge Trophy, the Novices' Hurdle, and of course the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
- For full details about this race, Champions Day, the Festival, and other race meetings at Cheltenham Racecourse, head on over to their official website.
- Thinking of having a bet? The latest odds are available on this page, but first check out our Guide on How to Bet on a Horse.