10th - 13th March

14:50 Cheltenham 10 Mar 2020

Ultima Handicap Chase

Grade 3 | Class 1 | 5YO plus

Winner £61,897 - 23 ran

3m 1f

Soft (Heavy in places)

Draw Advantage: None

Gary Nutting
by Gary Nutting

Published 3rd March

The Festival record of DISCORAMA has a persuasive look about it now tackling a trip that could prove his ideal in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

Paul Nolan’s seven-year-old has knocked on the door on both previous visits, finishing second in the 2018 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f and ditto the four-mile National Hunt Chase 12 months ago.

The gelding is back for more after recent wind surgery, having shown his effectiveness at around three miles when splitting Delta Work and A Plus Tard in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown last spring.

That was a cracking effort against two horses rated 10lb-plus higher at the time, both of whom have since advanced their ratings with Grade 1 victories.

The campaign so far has not gone as well for Discorama, although there was no disgrace in failing to give Champagne Classic (2017 Martin Pipe winner) 5lb on his reappearance, with subsequent Paddy Power Chase winner Roaring Bull a well-beaten third.

He ran a lacklustre race in the Troytown next time (relatively weak in the market) and even worse dropped to 2m4f over hurdles in first-time blinkers at Limerick on Boxing Day.

However the breathing operation may well spark a revival if his strength in the ante-post market is anything to go by, while a mark of 148 is eye-catching based on that Punchestown performance.

Whereas soft ground is probably ideal for Discorama over this trip, any drying out of conditions would suit admirable multi-tasker WHO DARES WINS.

Alan King’s eight-year-old is a classy staying handicapper on the Flat (Northumberland Plate winner, also placed in three Chester Cups and an Ascot Stakes) and over hurdles with solid Festival form, having finished third in a Coral Cup and fifth in the 2018 Pertemps Final (won by Delta Work).

In the last-named he was the only one of the first 11 home to carry more than 11 stone (6lb more to be precise) - a performance that deserves marking up given he was running off a then career-high mark against the usual collection of plotted-up horses on soft ground.

He gets the chance to compete off 2lb lower for this prospective handicap debut over fences, having warmed up for Cheltenham with a typically gutsy win over 2m4f in the Pendil at Kempton last month.

King also has him in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase and Marsh Novices’ Chase but the handicap option looks his best chance of success provided the ground is deemed suitable.

Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo

Cheltenham 14:50, 10 March 2020

Cheltenham 14:50, 10 March 2020

Previous Winners

Year Winner Trainer Jockey Age/Wt SP
2019Beware The BearN J HendersonJ McGrath9 11-810/1
2018Coo Star SivolaNick WilliamsLizzie Kelly (3)6 10-105/1f
2017Un Temps Pour ToutD PipeT Scudamore8 11-129/1
2016Un Temps Pour ToutD PipeT Scudamore7 11-711/1
2015The Druids NephewN P MulhollandB J Geraghty8 11-38/1
2014HolywellJonjo O'NeillR P McLernon7 11-610/1
2013Golden ChieftainC L TizzardBrendan Powell (3)8 10-228/1
2012Alfie SherrinJonjo O'NeillR P McLernon9 10-014/1
2011BensalemA KingR Thornton8 11-25/1
2010 Chief Dan George James Moffatt Paddy Aspell 10 10-10 33/1
2009 Wichita Lineman Jonjo O'Neill A P McCoy 8 10-9 5/1f
2008 An Accordion D Pipe T Scudamore 7 10-12 7/1
2007 Joes Edge F Murphy D N Russell 10 10-6 50-1
2006 Dun Doire A J Martin R Walsh 7 10-9 7-1
2005 Kelami F Doumen R Thornton 7 10-2 8-1
2004 Fork Lightning A King R Thornton 8 10-5 7-1
2003 Youlneverwalkalone C Roche B Geraghty 9 10-11 7-1
2002 Frenchman's Creek H Morrison P Carberry 8 10-5 8-1
2001 No Race
2000 Marlborough N J Henderson M Fitzgerald 8 10-3 11-2
1999 Betty's Boy K C Bailey N Williamson 10 10-2 25-1
1998 Unguided Missile G Richards P Carberry 10 11-10 10-1
1997 Flyer's Nap R H Alner D Bridgwater 11 11-2 20-1

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