Cheltenham - At The Races

17:30 Cheltenham 15 Mar 2018

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (Class 2) (5YO plus)

Winner £41,972 - 20 ran

7

3m 2f

Soft (Heavy in places)

View Course Guide

Weighed In

Last year’s race

Domesday Book
  • Winner: Domesday Book
  • Jockey: Miss G Andrews
  • Trainer: Stuart Edmunds
  • Owner: Mr J Humberstone
  • Age: 7 Weight: 11st 4lb
  • Starting Price: 40/1
  • Season Form Figures: 5683
  • Previous Best: 4th - EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase (Grade A), Punchestown (Apr 2016)

A 0-145 handicap chase ridden by amateur riders, the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup doesn’t overly capture the imagination outside of Festival die-hards despite featuring three future Gold Cup winners in the 1980s.

Being an amateur-riders’ race, jockeyship is vital. The 1-2-3-4-5 last season were ridden by the more experienced non-claiming amateurs, as were five of the first six places in 2016. This, following back-to-back 1-2-3s underlining that this race is as much about the jockey as it is the horse. In fact, 30 of the last 34 win-and-place positions were filled by non-claiming amateurs as were ten of the last 12 winners.

Jamie Codd has won the race on four occasions (twice for David Pipe) but Derek O’Connor has had the misfortune to be beaten less than a length into second on three occasions, Pendra being the latest last year. Although Nina Carberry has yet to win in 11 attempts, she has notched up a top-five position on eight occasions.

30 of the last 34 win-and-place positions were filled by non-claiming amateurs as were ten of the last 12 winners.

What age winners are doesn’t seem to matter anymore but the nine most recent winners all carried 11st 4lb+. The fact that the four highest rated winners since 1997 were achieved in the last nine years, which also just happens to have been the nine most compressed renewals, is no coincidence.

Only Cause Of Causes did not contest a handicap of winners last time out since the novice, Glyde Court, in 1985. Even the novices that have won recently were contesting a handicap last time out rather than a novice chase. Gordon Elliott was knocking on the door with two seconds and a third in the previous three years before he struck with the J P McManus-owned Cause Of Causes two years ago so he makes most appeal of the Irish. McManus has a special affinity with the amateur-rider races at the meeting and won all three contests two years ago and his Pendra looked like he was going to give him a third Kim Muir win in the last six years until caught close home off top weight on his seasonal debut by the 40/1 outsider Domesday Book.

Donald McCain has saddled two winners and a close second so his entries must be respected. Both of his winners were for leading owner, Trevor Hemmings, whose colours were also successful with the Nicky Henderson-trained Juveigneur. Henderson has won the race three times including a 1-2 in 2002 and 2005.

David Pipe moved to within one winner of his father’s trio of success when The Package won three years ago having also prepared the 1-2 in 2011. Make special note of his horses arriving here of a break of over three months. Three of Pond House’s winners had placed at a previous Festival in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase. This has not been Paul Nicholls’s race at all however with just one placed horse from 19 starters.

Seven of the last 13 winners contested a handicap chase at Cheltenham earlier in the season, three of which ran in the BetVictor Handicap Chase over 3m3½f at The November Meeting here in November won by Perfect Candidate. Sixteen of the last 17 winners ran over at least three miles last time out.

At a glance summary

Positives
Carrying 11st 4lb+
Trained by David Pipe, Gordon Elliott, Nicky Henderson or Donald McCain
Ran in a handicap chase at Cheltenham earlier in the season
Ridden by Jamie Codd or Derek O’Connor
Owned by Trevor Hemmings or J P McManus
Negatives
Ridden by a claiming amateur rider
Not run over 3m+ last time out
Not contested a handicap last time out
Trained by Paul Nicholls

Previous Winners
Year Going Ran Winner Draw Age Weight OR Form Last run Trainer (Distance) Jockey SP Time
2017 Good 24 Domesday Book 7 11 4 137 0-45683 28 days Stuart Edmunds (70 miles) Miss G Andrews 40/1 6:48.40
2016 Good 22 Cause Of Causes 8 11 9 142 518-005 25 days G Elliott Mr J J Codd 9/2 6:43.40
2015 Good 24 The Package 12 11 4 137 PP30-6P 96 days D Pipe (100 miles) Mr J J Codd 9/1 6:33.60
2014 Good 23 Spring Heeled 7 11 6 138 213280 76 days J H Culloty R P McNamara 12/1 6:35.30
2013 Good to Soft 24 Same Difference 7 11 7 137 234136 19 days N Twiston-Davies (1 miles) R Hatch 16/1 6:39.00
2012 Good 23 Sunnyhillboy 9 11 11 142 3F-37P9 26 days Jonjo O'Neill (1 miles) Mr A Berry 13/2 6:35.20
2011 Good 24 Junior 8 11 6 134 31-1232 75 days D Pipe (100 miles) Mr J J Codd 10/3 6:20.40
2010 Good to Soft 23 Ballabriggs 9 11 12 140 U2120-3 33 days D McCain (62 miles) Mr R O Harding 9/1 6:36.50
2009 Good to Soft 24 Character Building 9 11 12 139 3-14339 26 days J J Quinn (194 miles) Mr J J Codd 16/1 6:42.90
2008 Good to Soft 24 High Chimes 9 10 13 127 F51-43P 61 days E Williams (77 miles) Mr J Tudor 14/1 6:49.70