3m1f (Old) Ultima Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Although the Irish are likely to be dominant throughout the week, the Brits normally have the edge when it comes to the handicap chases. The Ultima is a race which normally sees returning horses perform admirably. Un Temps Pour Tout won it back-to-back, Vintage Clouds placed in the race four times as well as winning and the likes of Beware The Bear also come to mind.
His odds have tumbled in recent days, but I still think CORACH RAMBLER, is a fair price to claim consecutive victories in this contest as he is only 6lbs higher than his win last year. Lucinda Russell’s mount is being aimed at the Grand National but first he has the chance to claim another Festival success.
Corach Rambler probably doesn’t have the most typical of racing styles to win a race like the Ultima which normally favours front-runners, but he stays so well and has so much stamina that he did it in his own effective way when he went from last to first to win it last year. The softer going conditions will be very much in his favour and he should have plenty in the tank considering he has only had two starts during the season including a very good fourth in the Coral Gold Cup.
Into Overdrive has been on a fantastic run winning his last four starts and it would be no shock to see him go in again here, but he is plenty short in the betting now.
Fourth in the Ballymore Novices to Envoi Allen, third in the Brown Advisory Novices Chase to Monkfish, there aren’t many horses in this race that could call upon that type of back form. The horse I am referring to is THE BIG BREAKAWAY, who has always been held in very high regard by the Tizzards. But this is probably the easiest of his assignments that he has had at The Festival.
The Big Breakaway might feel like he has been around for a long time, but he’s only 8-years-old and has had just the 14 career starts. His last two over fences this season have been his finest efforts and he really looks like he has matured as a chaser now. The Big Breakaway put in a gritty performance on his comeback run at Haydock and then he ran an absolute blinder in the Welsh Grand National over Christmas where his jumping looked better than ever and what I liked most is that he really travelled into the race.
He had to lug 11-13 around Chepstow on heavy ground and will carry 11-10 here. The Big Breakaway stays, he loves soft ground and he might just have a class angle on his opposition here. At odds of 18/1, he looks overpriced to me for a horse that won his last race at Cheltenham and has performed with credit over the Old course on multiple occassions and I would not be surprised to see him get his head in front here.
1pt win Corach Rambler @7/1, 14:50 Tuesday, Cheltenham
1pt win The Big Breakaway @18/1, 14:50 Tuesday, Cheltenham