2020 Ultima Handicap Chase tips – Two tips for day one

The Conditional (right) holds off West Approach to win at Cheltenham's Showcase Meeting.

The Conditional (right) holds off West Approach to win at Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting.

Ultima Handicap Chase Tips

Jon Vine takes a look through the betting for the opening handicap of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival and provides readers with two Ultima Handicap Chase tips on Tuesday 10th March.

The first handicap race of the Cheltenham Festival is the Ultima Handicap Chase, which follows the Arkle on day one of the meeting. I’ve hit the crossbar in this handicap down the years, losing out narrowly with Singlefarmpayment a couple of years ago, and again with Vintage Clouds in 2019.

I’ve looked through the recent history of this race and picked out three key trends. I then cast my eye through the ante-post betting and landed on two Ultima Handicap 2020 Chase tips.

Three Key Trends

  • All of the previous ten winners had run at Cheltenham at least once (Eight of the ten had run at Cheltenham that season)
  • Nine of the last ten winners had won over three miles or further
  • Nine of the last ten winners had appeared at the previous Cheltenham Festival

Other Targets

If Pym (16/1 Unibet) was to run here, I’d be all over Nicky Henderson’s novice. Despite his recent flop in the Reynoldstown – where I thought it was foolish of Nicky Henderson to run him on horrible ground he clearly hates – I feel he has enough quality to join Champ in the RSA. Check out my RSA preview here.

Jerrysback (16/1 Unibet) is another who greatly interests me. A mark of 144 would be perfect for the Kim Muir, though. Hobbs and McManus have No Comment lined up for a second tilt at day three’s card closer, but there’s a chance Jerrysback could join his stablemate in that amateur race, as he’s certainly to stay that extended trip.

Ultima Handicap Chase Tips – Tip One

Another who is a possible for the Kim Muir is THE CONDITIONAL (10/1 Ladbrokes), who made the move to David Bridgewater’s yard at the start of the season. Having endured a winless first campaign over fences in Ireland, The Conditional needed just two starts for Bridgewater to break his duck this term. That victory came at Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting, where Tom Cannon’s mount outstayed West Approach to claim an impressive victory.

The Conditional then gave me a terrible fright in the Ladbrokes Trophy. I’d tipped and backed De Rasher Counter at 16/1 for that handicap, and David Bridgewater’s eight-year-old was steadily closing on the winner in the strides before the line, eventually coming up short by just a length.

Having failed to get home in the Classic Chase at Warwick, when travelling into the race like the most likely winner, dropping back to three miles was inevitable and he ticks practically every box for the Ultima. If Beware The Bear attempts to retain his crown, The Conditional will carry just 10-06 into battle. He’s a very confident punt in our Ultima Handicap Chase tips sitting on 10/1.

Kildisart Trials Day

Kildisart (left) winning a big handicap on Trials Day in 2019.

Ultima Handicap Chase Tips – Tip Two

I toyed with the idea of Ok Corral as my second selection. However, once I spotted KILDISART (25/1 Unibet) lurking near the bottom of the ante-post betting, my mind was made up!

Last spring, Kildisart finished a staying-on fourth in a high-quality renewal of the Marsh Novices’ Chase, before bolting up under 11-12 on his first start over three miles in a big handicap at Aintree. Kildisart then looked a little rusty on his reappearance at Carlisle, fading late on to eventually finish third to my Gold Cup tip, Lostintranslation. Two handicap outing have followed on heavy going at Ascot, but he was never really going to be a factor on bottomless ground like that.

Kildisart relished good, spring ground last season, and he’s won and placed on his two previous starts at Cheltenham. Ben Pauling’s charge has dropped down the handicap by five pounds since the start of the campaign, and could even carry a weight as low as 11-03 into this handicap. He’ll be the second of the Ultima Handicap Chase tips, as I think he’s massively overpriced on 25/1!