Ultima Handicap Chase Tips: 2024 Betting Preview & Trends

Date IconLast Updated: 11 Jan 2023
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Ultima Handicap Chase Tips: 2024 Betting Preview & Trends
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Ultima Handicap Chase betting proves popular every year as punters look to kick the Cheltenham Festival off successfully with a bet on the third race of the opening day.

Entries are published on February 22 and any ante-post Ultima Handicap Chase tips carry a risk that the horse might not run. However, the best horse racing betting sites offer 'non-runner no bet' for Cheltenham races, meaning you'll get your stake back if your horse doesn't run.

Ultima Handicap Chase Tips

Ultima Handicap Chase Runners in Focus

Here's a closer look at some of the leading contenders to win the 2022 Ultima Handicap Chase:

Bailey in the Know

Does He Know will probably head to the festival as a market leader in Ultima Handicap Chase betting if given the green light by trainer Kim Bailey.

This lightly-raced chaser brings some novice chase form to the table having bolted up at Cheltenham in October before chasing home high-class novice Threeunderthrufive at Prestbury Park the following month.

Although a touch quirky, he looks a smart operator on the Old Course. His trainer, who won this race in 1999 with Betty’s Boy and saddled the beaten favourite in 2021, has said his seven-year-old appreciates nice ground, which he might just get at the festival.

Course form counts for plenty in this race so Does He Know has the credentials to feature on any Ultima Handicap Chase tips sheet.

Read More: Get the best Cheltenham offers for betting on the 2022 Festival

2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Tip: Corach Rambler

Corach Rambler has very persuasive claims for the Lucinda Russell team after his two-length success over three-miles, one-and-a-half furlongs on the New Course in December.

That is the same Cheltenham race that Happygolucky won in 2020 before running a big race in defeat in that year's Ultima Handicap Chase.

Corach Rambler didn’t appear to stay the longer trip on soft ground when beaten in a good race at Warwick in January but connections do see him as a stayer because he’s been touted for the Scottish National.

The Festival Trophy looks exactly the right race for this improver, whose official rating of 140 will see him get in with a nice racing weight. He doesn’t do a great deal in front so a strongly-run handicap like this will suit him perfectly and he’s the number one choice in our Ultima Handicap Chase tips list, at 14/1 with 888sports.

Right in The Mix

2021 Ultima Handicap Chase runner-up Aye Right probably has his sights set on a graded prize but still figures in a few Ultima Handicap Chase betting lists.

The nine-year-old was no match for Chantry House in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January but he’s now 4lb higher than when beaten by around seven lengths in this race 12 months ago, which means he would probably be carrying near top weight in the Ultima and that in itself will probably put connections off running him.

Ascot winner Phoenix Way appears to be finding his feet as a chaser and on the face of it he looks a contender for the Ultima Handicap Chase - but connections have avoided running him at Cheltenham so far. If they are tempted by the 2022 Festival then the two-mile, five-furlong race might suit him better.

Read More: Champion Hurdle tips and betting preview

No School Boy Error For Meade

School Boy Hours looks a leading Irish contender after scoring for the first time over fences at Leopardstown in December.

His poor strike-rate will put some off but his trainer believes that he’s been an unlucky horse and the stiff nature of Cheltenham looks sure to suit a horse who clearly stays well. He would be a very interesting contender if allowed to take his chance and is priced at 14/1 with the best betting sites.

Ultima Handicap Chase Odds

Shan Blue6/1 with 888sport
Does He Know8/1 with Paddy Power
Escaria Ten9/1 with BetVictor
Galahad Quest10/1 with BetVictor
Imperial Alcazar10/1 with Paddy Power
  • Odds correct as of 16/02/2022 - For full latest odds head over to 888sport

Ultima Handicap Chase Trends

  • Ratings round-up: This is a race that highly-rated runners have struggled in. No horse rated 150+ has won it this century and only one winner (Un Temps Pour Tout in 2017) has carried more than 11st 8lb.
  • Age matters: Older horses have a poor record in this; only three of the last 52 horses aged 11 or older have made the frame. 2021 winner Vintage Clouds was a real trends outlier.
  • Stamina counts: Only two Ultima Handicap Chase winners since 2007 had not previously won over three miles or further.
  • Nicholls hoodoo: Paul Nicholls might be a 12-time champion trainer that has won most Cheltenham Festival races in his career but he is 0-23 in the Ultima.
  • Headgear alert: Horses wearing headgear have done well in this race in recent years. Seven of the last eight winners have sported an aid of some sort.
  • Appearance money: Every winner this century had run at least twice during the season in which they were victorious in this race.

Recent Ultima Handicap Chase Winners

2021Vintage Clouds
2020The Conditional
2019Beware The Bear
2018Coo Star Sivola
2017Un Temps Pour Tout
2016Un Temps Pour Tout
2015The Druids Nephew
2013Golden Chieftain
2012Alfie Sherrin

Ultima Handicap Chase Verdict

The novices’ handicap chase at Cheltenham in December has been a key pointer to this race in the past and that could be the case again because our top Ultima Handicap Chase tips choice CORACH RAMBLER looks to have an ideal profile.

He probably hit the front sooner than was ideal under Derek Fox that day but he found extra when challenged up the hill to pull away and that indicates that he’s got more in the locker.

The tempo of a contest like this will suit this strong traveller down to the ground and enable him to be smuggled into the race.

Irish-trained runners don’t have a great record in this and School Boy Hours doesn’t have a great strike-rate but everything clicked for him at Leopardstown in December. That level of form brings him firmly into the reckoning if Noel Meade decides to take his chance.

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