Paddy Power Chase Tips – Dont Look Too Far For Likely Winner Of Renamed Race

The runners leap a fence during the 2019 Paddy Power Plate.

The runners leap a fence during the 2019 Paddy Power Plate.

Paddy Power Plate Tips

Same race, different name as one of Britain & ireland’s biggest bookmaker takes over sponsorship of this handicap chase. Daniel Overall casts his eye over the contenders for the race that follows the Stayers Hurdle on Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival.

Paddy Power Plate Overview

Now sponsored by Paddy Power, the race affectionally known as “The Plate” has been a happy hunting ground for unexposed chasers in recent seasons, with novices winning the last four renewals. In the absence of the novices’ handicap chase, we may see more novices lining up in this race instead, making it a difficult puzzle to solve. 

Irish Invasion

Prior to 2016, the Irish had failed to record a win in this race in 33 years. However, they racked up three wins in a row from 2016-2018 and as previously noted, we may see more novices run in this race so the Irish may have further success in the coming years. 

One such horse is A Wave Of The Sea; sixth in last season’s Triumph Hurdle, he has won two of his six starts over fences including a win in a handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival over 2m1f. He has often looked like he’d appreciate a step up in trip which does make this race an option but he’s far from certain to run here.

Owned by JP McManus, another to consider in his colours is Alfa Mix (25/1), who finished seventh in last season’s Coral Cup. While he has been well beaten on all three starts over fences thus far, there should be more to come from him and it would be no surprise if a switch to handicaps resulted in an improved performance. Rated 135 over fences in Ireland, a mark of 140 was needed to run in last year’s renewal of the Plate so he will need a few additional pounds from the British handicapper to be assured of a run.

Gigginstown’s Good Record

Despite only having had four runners in the last five years, Gigginstown have won the race twice, with Empire of Dirt and Road to Respect recording back-to-back victories for the O’Leary’s in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

This year, they look set to be represented by Farclas (16/1) after Gordon Elliott announced that this was his likely festival target. The 2018 Triumph Hurdle winner won his first three starts over the larger obstacles and he has run with a great deal of credit in three attempts in competitive handicaps since. With just six starts over fences, he is not fully exposed and his previous Cheltenham exploits make him a contender in this race. 

Like Farclas, Conflated (18/1) is also trained by Gordon Elliott. He made an encouraging debut over fences over a trip short of his optimum but he still ran with credit in finishing third to Darver Star. Second behind Asterion Forlonge on his next outing, he got off the mark over fences at the third attempt; that form reads well now, with the third, fourth and sixth having won subsequently. 

While he was more than 60 lengths behind Monkfish in the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase when last seen, he ran with credit before tiring, shaping like a non-stayer over the three-mile trip. Now rated 144 over fences in Ireland, it is worth noting that he was withdrawn from the Flogas as a result of colic, so there are some concerns over his wellbeing. If all is well, he’d have a good chance in this race.

Last Year’s Renewal

Having beaten the subsequent festival winner Imperial Aura on Trials Day, Simply The Betts was very well backed and rewarded his supporters in last year’s renewal of the plate. Having won that off 149, hopes were high for him this term but it hasn’t panned out as connections would’ve hoped.

We have only seen him once this season, where he finished sixth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup; his jumping lacked fluency but to his credit, he did stay on well despite looking as if he might tail off completely. Harry Whittington reported that he’s been “struggling this winter with little niggles” although they remain hopeful about his participation at Cheltenham. Now rated 157, he is likely to be top-weight if running here again and connections may yet run him in the Ryanair.

Perhaps of more interest is last year’s second, Happy Diva (33/1), who will be having her final run before retirement. While she has the option of the newly inaugurated Mares’ Chase, she is now four pounds lower than she was last season and she only finished just over a length behind Simply The Betts. While she hasn’t been at her best this term, she was in the process of running a good race in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and her record in handicaps at Cheltenham is exceptional. She’s weighted to go well and given what an admirable performer she’s been down the years, it would be fitting were she to end her career a festival success. 

Others to note include Spiritofthegames (33/1), who finished sixth last year and is 2lb lower in the weights, while 2019 winner Siruh Du Lac would be interesting on what would be his second start for David Pipe, who has a good record in this race, having departed at the first flight on his debut for the yard. He was still front rank when falling at the second last in last year’s renewal although he is still 9lb higher than when winning the race two years ago. 

Others To Note

Midnight Shadow (33/1) finished a respectable sixth in last season’s Marsh and he was second in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, although he was fifteen lengths behind Chatham Street Lad (33/1). The latter looks bound for a clash with Envoi Allen in the Marsh while the former pulled up over hurdles when last seen. Although that wouldn’t be an ideal preparation, he runs well at Cheltenham and a bold bid can not be discounted. 

Coconut Splash has finished second to a couple of useful types over fences this season, namely the subsequent Grade 2 winner Messire Des Obeaux and last season’s Supreme third, Chantry House. He looks the type to land a decent handicap in time but perhaps connections may favour the novices’ handicap at Sandown on Imperial Cup day instead. However, he would certainly be of interest if running here instead. Another novice to note would be Espoir De Romay (16/1) although he is another who looks unlikely to run here.

Paddy Power Plate Big-Race Verdict

A tough race to assess at this stage with the market yet to take shape. However, preference is for Farclas who represents connections with a fine record in this race and a bold big seems likely. Conflated would also be of interest but there is a question mark over his wellbeing.