This race has been switched to a new slot having ususally been run on the final day of the meeting.
This race has often proved a tricky race to solve but it can pay to have had a previous run at this track in order to partly solve the problem. Rock The World, Le Prezien, Oiseau De Nuit and Next Sensation had all run previously at the track before winning this race.
Nine of the last twelve winners were novices or second season chasers and eight of the last fifteen runners had run in the race previously.
It seems to pay to follow horses who are specifically targeted at this and have had at least a three-month break as five of the last six winners have done so.
Favourites have an appalling record in the race with only two obliging in the past decade.
Previous Winners of the Grand Annual Handicap Chase
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Grand Annual Handicap Chase 2021.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
Sky Pirate – Jonjo O’Neill
Sky Pirate has been a model of consistency all season and is a seasoned professional at this two-mile trip.
The amount of racing he has had coming here though is an obvious concern despite his well-being.
He keeps rising in the handicap because of his talent, but there may be others who come here fresher than him and are more leniently treated by the handicapper.
You can never rule him out completely but maybe only a place chance this afternoon.
Zanza – Philip Hobbs
Zanza came to grief when falling behind Sky Pirate in a race over this course and distance back in December.
He was quite well fancied that day ad was going pretty well until crumpling at the third last.
He comes into this race on the back of a nice break and could well have a few of these in trouble if the ground stays on the better side of good.
He will need to brush up on his jumping, but it is easy to make a case for him.
Entoucas – Jospeh O’Brien
Entoucas has had a busy year but has not run a bad race all season.
The fact that this is his first ever run at Cheltenham is a concern because these fences are not for the faint at heart.
It is unbelievable that he has only ever won a single race for Joseph O’Brien and that was a maiden hurdle at Naas last year.
If getting around, he will likely have to settle for minor honours yet again.
Ibleo – Venetia Williams
Ibleo is a solid performer and is another that comes into this race on the back of a healthy looking break.
He ran well to finish second to Sky Pirate here in December and he has come out to win at Sandown and Doncaster subsequently.
If there were to be any rain around at all it would suit this eight-year-old down to the ground and he would be a major player for Venetia Williams.
Embittered – Joseph O’Brien
Embittered has been keeping lofty company of late as he has been plying his trade at Graded level.
He was no match on his recent starts for either Energumene or Franco De Port, but a return to handicaps would see him in a much better light.
Two miles is certainly what he looks made for and he looks to be one of Joseph O’Brien’s better chances at the Festival.
Amoola Gold – Dan Skelton
Amoola Gold seems to come alive on flat tracks as all of his wins have come on flat tracks such as Ascot, Wetherby and Hereford.
He has raced here once before and was beaten fifteen lengths by Thomas Darby in a maiden hurdle in 2018.
Whilst he has improved this year, he gives you the impression that he may not fancy this uphill finish and may run out of gas in the closing stages.
Moonlighter – Nick Williams
Moonlighter produced his best run of the campaign when winning at Sandown last month.
He saw off the Paul Nicholls trained Dolos by a length and Nick Williams will be hoping he arrives here in similar form.
The better the ground, the better are the chances for this eight-year-old.
He does have something to find with Ibleo based on their meeting at Sandown in January though and that may be a tough ask.
Handicapper is failing to relent with his handicap mark though and that doesn’t help.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2021 Grand Annual Handicap Chase Tips
With the exception of Chosen Mate in the race last year, the home-based trainers tend to do better in this race.
Ibleo looks the type that can go very well with previous course and distance form to fall back on.
Zanza could give him the most to think about if over that terrible fall here last time whilst Embittered is most respected of the Irish invasion.
Odds With Betfred – correct at time of publication
- 9/2 Embittered
- 15/2 Entoucas
- 15/2 Zanza
- 17/2 Ibleo
- 16/1 Sky Pirate
- 16/1 Moonlighter
- 22/1 Amoola Gold
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