Towton Novices’ Chase

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The Towton Novices Chase is a Grade 2 race for five-year-olds over three miles at Wetherby. It takes place in late January or early February and is regarded as a trial for the Brown Advisory Novices Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The Towton Novices’ Chase takes place on the 13th of January 2024.

The inaugural running in 1996 was won by Mr Mulligan who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1997. Other notable winners include Ollie Magern (2005), Halcon Genelardais (2006), Wayward Prince (2011), Blaklion (2016) and Ahoy Senor (2002).

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Towton Novices’ Chase

Race Overview – The Towton Novices Chase

Horses five years old or older may compete in the Towton Novices’ Chase, a Grade 2 National Hunt steeplechase.

There are 19 fences to jump during the race, which is run at Wetherby over a distance of around 3 miles (3 miles and 45 yards, or 4,869 metres).

The novice chasers’ race will take place on Saturday 4th February 2023. The race is one of the well-known races occurring in February.

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Famous Towton Novices Chase Winners

The victory of Mr Mulligan set a very high standard for the Towton Novices Chase. Noel Chance’s gelding was the favourite for the RSA Chase (now Brown Advisory) after five successive victories but made a couple of crucial mistakes and was beaten by Nahthen Lad.

He was a last fence faller at the final fence in the King George VI Chase at Kempton where he incurred a back injury. He was carefully brought back in time for the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he won at 20-1 in the hands of Tony McCoy.

Other big race winners to emerge from the Towton include Welsh Grand National winner Halcon Genelardais and Scottish National winner Wayward Prince. Alan King trained Halcon Genelardais to win the Chepstow marathon in 2006. Wayward Prince won the Scottish Grand National as an eleven-year-old in 2015.

2016 winner Blaklion won the RSA Chase and went close to winning the Aintree Grand National for Nigel Twiston-Davies. He led going easily at the 26th fence in 2017 but could not sustain his effort and eventually finished fourth to One For Arthur.

Key Towton Novices Chase Trials

Four of the last nine winners of the Towton Novices Chase had won on their last outing.

None of them were previous course winners at Wetherby but all but two of them had already won over three miles or further.

Five of the last nine winners ran in the Brown Advisory Novices Chase at Cheltenham. Blaklion won in 2016 and Ahoy Senor finished runner-up in 2022. Wayward Prince (2011) also reached the frame at Cheltenham when finishing third.

Three of the last nine favourites have been successful; Wayward Prince (5-6) in 2011, Goulanes (12-5) in 2013 and Ahoy Senor (8-11) in 2022. Ballyoptic won as the 5-3 joint-favourite in 2018 for Nigel Twiston-Davies and Tom Bellamy.

There has only been one shock winner during the same period. That was 33-1 outsider Baywing in 2017, trained by Nicky Richards and ridden by Ryan Day.

Seven-year-olds have the best recent record with six winners in nine renewals. Ely Brown (2014) was the oldest winner in the history of the race at the age of nine.

An official rating of 137 or higher is usually required to win this race. Ahoy Senor (152) was the highest-rated winner in recent seasons, 2lbs higher than Blaklion and Ballyoptic.

Towton Novices Chase – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Nigel Twiston-Davies is the leading trainer in the Towton with three winners; Ollie Magern (2005), Blaklion (2016) and Ballyoptic (2018).

Alan King (Halcon Genelardais and Ned Stark) and Ian Williams (Weird Al and Wayward Prince) have two victories apiece.

Richard Johnson rode the first two winners of the race with Mr Mulligan (1996) and Escartefigue (1998). The 1997 meeting was abandoned due to snow.

Betting on the Towton Novices Chase

The Towton Novices Chase usually attracts a small but select field of promising chasers.

Although Blaklion is the only one to go on and win the Brown Advisory at the Cheltenham Festival, several have made their mark at the highest level.

Towton Novices’ Chase Previous Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

Facts about the Towton Novices’ Chase

  • The Towton Novices’ Chase is a Grade 2 National Hunt chase in the United Kingdom open to horses aged five years or older.
  • The race is scheduled to take place each year in early February.
  • The event was first run in 1996.

Summary of the Towton Novices’ Chase

Thank you for checking out this Towton Novices’ Chase guide, we hope it was helpful.

We have looked at history, previous winners, betting odds, tips and more, so you have all the information you need if placing a bet or simply watching it.

You can find more February horse races by checking out our guide.

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