Grand Annual Cheltenham Tips: 2022 Betting Preview & Trends
The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase carries great significance as the oldest race at the Cheltenham Festival and is the penultimate contest on the second day of racing.
2022 Grand Annual betting is starting to take shape now that entries have been revealed for all the Festival handicaps - so it's the perfect time to check out Grand Annual tips before placing your Cheltenham bets at the best horse racing betting sites.
Grand Annual Cheltenham Tips
- Back Ciel De Neige to win - 15/2 with FansBet
Grand Annual Runners in Focus
Here's an in-depth look at some of the leading contenders for the Cheltenham Grand Annual Handicap Chase:
Gentleman Comes With Risks
2022 Cheltenham Grand Annual betting lists are headed by the Willie Mullins-trained Gentleman De Mee, who opened his chase account in some style at Thurles.
Gentleman De Mee is an exuberant jumper at times but he can be overly brave and he could be something of a white-knuckle ride around Cheltenham.
That being said, he achieved a huge number in winning that beginners’ chase by a whopping 34 lengths and if he can find some assurance in his jumping technique, he could make into a very useful two-mile chaser.
He didn’t see out the trip in last year’s Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle but he raced freely that day and two miles looks like his trip for now. He is an interesting contender for powerful connections.
Read More: Browse the best Cheltenham offers ahead of the 2022 Festival
2022 Grand Annual Handicap Chase Tip: Ciel De Neige
Mullins and owner JP McManus have another Grand Annual Chase prospect in the shape of progressive novice Ciel De Neige, who is progressing at a rapid rate and will feature prominently in Arkle betting lists. He could well take his chance in that race, especially as it isn’t shaping up to be a vintage renewal of the Arkle this year.
The seven-year-old made it three from three over fences when quickening away from his rivals in a two-mile race at Punchestown in February. We know he stays further so the strongly-run nature of a Grand Annual shouldn’t faze him.
With Cheltenham Festival form already in the book, he looks a strong candidate for the Grand Annual if given the green light to run in it. If not, the best bookmakers like FansBet offer non-runner no bet for Cheltenham, meaning you will get your stake refunded if he goes to the Arkle instead.
Coeur Sublime is another Irish contender with the option of running in the Arkle, despite being no match for Ferny Hollow and Riviere D’etel in the Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas.
He’s a Grade 2-winning hurdler so is clearly very talented and he looked decidedly useful over the bigger obstacles at Gowran, but he wasn’t exactly foot-perfect that day and the Grand Annual will be a severe examination of his jumping technique.
He’s definitely a contender if his jumping stands up to the test. Soft ground looks important to him.
Williams’ Brave Play
Venetia Williams might just be tempted to pitch her improving novice Brave Seasca into this given he has proven that he can travel and jump at speed, albeit in small-field events.
Brave Seasca was no match for Arkle Chase hope Edwardstone in Warwick’s Kingmaker Chase but that six-length defeat is strong form in the context of the Grand Annual and there is likely still plenty more to come from this seven-year-old. He is definitely worth a place in any Grand Annual Chase tips shortlist.
Williams also has the option of running the fast-improving Funambule Sivola in this but connections will surely want to have a crack at the Champion Chase with him now after he took some notable scalps in the Game Spirit Chase.
Cheltenham Grand Annual Odds
|Gentleman de Mee||7/1|
|Ciel De Neige||15/2|
|Third Time Lucki||8/1|
- *Odds correct as of 23/02/2022 - For full latest odds head over to FansBet
Grand Annual Cheltenham Trends
- JP dominance: Legendary owner JP McManus has a strong record in this race, winning it four times in all and on three occasions in the last decade. Entoucas very nearly enhanced that record in 2021 but he was beaten by a head.
- Novice focus: 2021 Grand Annual Chase winner Sky Pirate became the 10th novice to win the race and it has paid to focus on those less-exposed runners when judging how to pick a winning horse in the Grand Annual in recent years.
- Festival pointers: Previous experience of Cheltenham is key in this race. Since the turn of the century, 17 of 21 Grand Annual winners already had a Cheltenham Festival outing under their belt.
- Avoid the elders: Only two horses older than nine have won the Cheltenham Grand Annual since 2000.
- Breaking point: Six of the last seven winners have all arrived at Cheltenham fresh from a significant break. Interestingly, none of the placed horses from the 2021 edition have been seen this season and connections may well be keeping their powder dry for a sprint assault.
- Price check: Favourites have a poor record in this, winning only twice in the last decade. There have been seven double-figure-priced winners in that period, including a 66/1 victor (Croco Bay) in 2019.
Recent Grand Annual Winners
|2017||Rock the World|
Cheltenham Grand Annual Verdict
It looks worth siding with a JP McManus-owned contender given the legendary owner's strong recent record in this race. The one that appeals most is CIEL DE NEIGE, who looked a novice to keep on the right side of when he made it 3-3 over fences at Punchestown in February.
As is often the case with improving novices, connections might be tempted to pitch him into the Arkle. But with top betting apps offering the non-runner no bet concession for the Grand Annual, he’s worth chancing at 15/2.
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