Sunday 23 April 2023

Hampton Novices' Chase


The Hampton Novices' Chase is a Grade 2 novices' steeplechase run over 3 miles at Warwick in January. Open to horses aged five years and upwards, who start the season without a win over regulation fences, the race was inaugurated, as a Class 2 weight-for-age contest, in 2004. However, it was promoted to Listed status by the Jump Pattern Committee of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) in 2015 and, having continued to exceed the required rating parameters, was promoted again, to Grade 2 status, in 2020.

In the relatively short history of the Hampton Novices' Chase, Paul Nicholls has saddled four winners, namely Gungadu (2007), Rocky Creek (2013), Next Destination (2021) and Threeunderthrufive (2022) and is the leading trainer so far. As far as future winners are concerned, it is worth noting that, despite field sizes of no more than seven, just three of the last ten renewals have been won by the favourite, who was odds-on on all three occasions. That said, the longest-priced winner in that period was Sego Success, who was sent off 5/1 third favourite in 2015, so the Hampton Novices' Chase is no get-rich-quick scheme either.

Course form, even winning course form, appears unimportant, but all bar one of the last ten winners had previously won at least once between 2 miles and 7 furlongs and 3 miles and 1 furlong. Other recent trends suggest that the runners on which to concentrate are those aged seven or eight years, officially rated 137, or higher, with recent, last time out winning form, preferably within the last seven weeks or so.

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