Northern Trust Chase tips – Two tips for day one handicap

Northern Trust Close Brothers Cheltenham

The field jumps a fence at Cheltenham during the 2019 Northern Trust Handicap Chase.

Jon Vine takes a look through the betting for this Novices’ Handicap on day one of the Cheltenham Festival and provides readers with two Northern Trust Handicap tips on Tuesday 10th March.

Formerly known as the Close Brothers, Northern Trust have taken over sponsorship of this novices’ handicap chase on day one of the Cheltenham Festival. I tipped up A Plus Tard – who I think could be hard to beat in the Ryanair – to win this race last year when he was declared, and it’s possible another Grade One horse could be dropped into this handicap when the final field is announced.

I’ve taken a look at the last ten editions of the Northern Trust and picked out three key trends. I’ve then scrolled through the ante-post market and come up with two Northern Trust Handicap Chase tips.

*Note – This preview was written before the entries were announced. There’s a chance a really good Irish novice could be dropped into this handicap, so the two selections may change when the entries are revealed.*

Three Key Trends

  • Nine of the last ten winners had run between three and five times over fences that season
  • Eight of the last ten winners carried 11-04 or more
  • Eight of the last ten winners won or placed on their most recent start

Northern Trust Handicap tips – Tip One

I think there’s been a plot to get Champagne Platinum into this handicap on a nice low weight, and Nicky Henderson’s charge has to be respected. As does Imperial Aura, who ran well behind Simply The Betts on Trials Day and should be a big player off a mark of 143.

I picked out Knight To Dubai when he didn’t feature in the odds, so Dan Skelton’s decision to enter this talented novice is no surprise and he’s definitely got a big chance running well off the same mark as Imperial Aura.

However, for both of my bets, I’m going to side with two runners rated 145, who look to be Graded-level performers masquerading in a handicap. The first of those being Mick Channon’s HOLD THE NOTE (12/1 Ladbrokes), who runs in the same colours as 2018 Northern Trust winner, Mister Whitaker.

Tom Scudamore’s mount was in the process of running a big race in the same contest that Brown Advisory Plate favourite, Simply The Betts finished second in. Unfortunately, Hold The Note was badly hampered by the falling Roll Again and was pulled up soon after. Channon’s charge then went toe-to-two with Two For Gold in the Grade Two Hampton at Warwick, and was just outstayed by his rival over that three-mile trip.

Channon’s charge ran well in a bumper at Cheltenham last season. He won over two-and-a-half-miles over hurdles and brings some solid chasing form to the table. He should be capable of winning with 11-12 on his back in our Northern Trust Handicap tips.

Two For Gold Hold The Note Warwick

Hold The Note (left) jumps ahead of Two For Gold in the Leamington at Warwick.

Northern Trust Handicap tips – Tip Two

As should DEYRANN DE CARJAC (25/1 Unibet), who was my selection in the Dipper on New Year’s Day. Alan King’s charge didn’t jump with much fluency that day and made a bad mistake two-out. Yet, Deyrann De Carjac stayed on to finish just two-lengths behind Midnight Shadow.

Prior to that outing, King’s chaser had beaten Pym on his chasing debut, and shaped with plenty of menace in the Berkshire Novices’ Chase won by RSA favourite Champ at Newbury. The handicapper’s decision to drop Deyrann De Carjac by a pound after that run in the Dipper means he can sneak into this handicap at the top of the weights.

The way he finished on New Year’s Day tells me he does handle the course here at Cheltenham, and the form of that race was boosted a little when Midnight Shadow finished second in the Scilly Isles. If Deyrann De Carjac settles in what’s sure to be a large field, and produces a faultless jumping display, he’s more than capable of winning. He’ll be the second of my Northern Trust Handicap tips at a massive each-way price of 25/1.