Ultima Handicap Chase

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The Ultima Chase is one of the toughest races held at the Cheltenham Festival

The Ultima Handicap Chase takes place on the 12th of March 2024.

The Ultima Handicap Chase, also known as the Festival Trophy, is a Grade 3 race at the Cheltenham Festival. It is over three miles and one furlong and names on the roll of honour include Grand National winners West Tip, Seagram and Rough Quest. Three horses have won the race twice, the most recent being Un Temps Pour Tout in 2016 and 2017.

Find out more about the Ultima Chase:

Ultima Handicap Chase

Ultima Handicap Chase Overview

The Ultima Chase is a Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase run over a distance of around 3 miles and 1 furlong on the Old Course at Cheltenham, and there are twenty obstacles to jump during the race.

It’s a handicap event that takes place every year on the 1st day of the Cheltenham Festival.

It is one of the toughest handicaps of the National Hunt season.

Ultima Handicap Chase Tips

Here are our tips for the Ultima Handicap Chase:

  • Cheltenham 14.50 NAP – Chianti Classico
  • Cheltenham 14.50 NB – The Goffer
  • Cheltenham 14.50 Long Shot – Monbeg Genius

If you are looking for more racing tips for events held at Cheltenham Racecourse then check out our Cheltenham racing tips page.

For all Cheltenham races, our finest racing tipsters give free horse racing tips!

Ultima Handicap Chase Previous Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

Famous Ultima Handicap Chase Winners

The Ultima Chase was originally called the National Hunt Handicap Chase and has been through a range of sponsors since the early eighties. Ultima took over the sponsorship in 2015. The race has close ties with the Aintree Grand National with Royal Tan (1952) and Team Spirit (1963) winning both races.

1985 winner West Tip became a household name when winning the Grand National the following year. He started joint-favourite for the National after winning this race in 1985 and was travelling like the winner when falling at Bechers on the second circuit. He returned the following year to win under Richard Dunwoody. West Tip became an Aintree regular, finishing fourth in 1987 and 1988 and runner-up in 1989.

Seagram won this race by 5 lengths from Cahervillahow in 1991. He then won the Grand National, overhauling the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Garrison Savannah on the run-in. His Aintree win was also notable for carrying the colours of the race sponsor.

The most recent horse to win here and go on to win the Grand National was Rough Quest in 1995. He finished second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup before winning the 1996 Grand National for Terry Casey and Mick Fitzgerald. He was the first successful favourite in the National for fourteen years.

Other notable winners of this race include Wichita Lineman (2009) and Holywell (2014), both trained by Jonjo O’Neill. Many rated Tony McCoy’s win on Wichita Lineman as one of the greatest-ever rides at the festival. Holywell won seven of his 32 races including two at the festival. He was a shock 25-1 winner of the Pertemps Final in 2013. He gained a Grade 1 victory in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree, finished fourth in the 2015 Gold Cup and runner-up in the 2016 Ultima Chase.

Key Ultima Handicap Chase Trials

Only three of the last twelve winners had been successful on their previous outing.

All twelve had raced at least once at Cheltenham previously and seven of those had recorded one or more course victories.

Horses that run well in this race tend to return in subsequent seasons.

Four of the last eleven winners ran in the Ultima the following year with only Un Temps Pour Tout (2016, 2017) managing a repeat victory.

Alfie Sherrin (2012) finished fourth in the 2013 Kim Muir and Holywell (2014) finished fourth in the 2015 Gold Cup.

Holywell was the only one of the last twelve winners to win on his next outing.

Coo Star Sivola (2018) is the only winning favourite in the last twelve renewals. He was trained by Nick Williams and ridden by Lizzie Kelly, returning at 5-1 favourite. Five of the remaining winners were either second or third favourite.

Bensalem (2011) 5-1 and The Druids Nephew (2015) 8-1 were both second favourites.

The longest-priced winners during that period were Golden Chieftain (2013) and Vintage Clouds (2021) who both returned at 28-1. Alfie Sherrin (2012) was a 14-1 chance.

Eleven of the twelve winners had a rating of 132 or higher.

Alfie Sherrin was the only horse to fall below that rating on 129.

The highest-rated winner was Un Temps Pour Tout who was rated 155 when achieving his second success in 2017.

Horses aged seven and eight have fared best in recent times, although Vintage Clouds won it as an eleven-year-old.

Coo Star Sivola won as a six-year-old in 2018, the first of that age group to win since Antonin in 1994.

Ultima Handicap Chase – Top Trainers and Jockeys

The leading trainers in the history of the Ultima Handicap Chase are Fred Rimell and Fulke Walwyn who each won it four times. Jonjo O’Neill has won it three times with Wichita Lineman (2009), Alfie Sherrin (2012) and Holywell (2014).

David Pipe also has a good record in this race, winning with An Accordion (2008) and twice with Un Temps Pour Tout (2016, 2017).

The leading jockeys are Robert Thornton and Tom Scudamore with three victories. Thornton’s winners were Fork Lightning (2004), Kelami (2005) and Bensalem (2011). Scudamore rode all three of David Pipe’s winners.

Betting on the Ultima Handicap Chase

Although favourites have a poor record in this race, it remains one of the most popular betting races of the Cheltenham Festival. It always attracts a large field of seasoned handicappers with plenty of each-way betting opportunities.

It is a long time since the race produced a Grand National winner but the Ultima Chase form is worth following in top staying chases.

Popular Questions

What distance is the Ultima Handicap Chase?

The Ultima Handicap Chase has a total distance of 3 miles and 1 furlong.

What time does the Ultima Handicap Chase start?

The Ultima Handicap Chase starts at 14:50.

Ultima Chase Facts

  • The Ultima Handicap Chase is a Grade 3 National Hunt chase in Great Britain which is open to horses aged five years or older.
  • The race is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of 3 miles and 1 furlong (5,131 metres), and during its running there are twenty fences to be jumped.
  • It is a handicap race, and it is scheduled to take place each year on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
  • It was formerly known as the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase and the National Hunt Handicap Chase.

Summary of the Ultima Chase

The Ultima Handicap Chase is a tough handicap held as part of the Cheltenham Festival.

It has been won by many great horses over the year, with many going on to run and even win the Aintree Grand National. It is a often a tough race and a horse needs strong stamina and to be a good jumper to succeed.

Check out our Ultima Handicap Chase Tips today.

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