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2019 Grand Annual Chase tips - Two against the field for the penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival

Trainer Tom George could win the Grand Annual Chase with Bun Doran

Brian Healy gives his two against the field for an other competitive renewal of the Grand Annual Chase, the penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival.


The penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand Annual Chase used to the Festival finale before it was moved this year to it’s current berth, and the competitive handicap chase contest is usually an exciting affair featuring some smart performers.

The two-mile chase contest goes to post at 4.50pm, and a maximum field of 20 runners will face the starters’ tapes each vying to land the first prize pot which stands at more than £60,000 for the winner. 

A Grade Three contest, it is the oldest race to be staged at the Festival and recent past winners include Le Prezien, Rock The World, Alderwood, Oiseau de Nuit and Pigeon Island. However, the 80s and 90s was a golden period for this race and many top-class names took this prize including Pearlyman, Katabatic, Vodkatini and Edredon Bleu.

Brian Healy looks through the potential field of runners for the penultimate race at the Cheltenham Festival, and he gives his two against the field for another competitive Grand Annual Chase.

Paul Nicholls has four wins to his name in this contest, and the Ditcheat handler boasts the likely race-favourite in Irish Saint who returned to winning form last time out; but in BRELAN D’AS (16/1, William Hill) he also looks to hold solid chances of success, and the Crillon gelding can get competitive here.

A dual-winner in France, he struck over hurdles last term but largely struggled in competitive handicaps following his win at Wincanton; he finished well down the field in last season’s Martin Pipe Hurdle, and he again disappointed here when finishing in mid-division behind Champagne Express back here in April.

He has taken well to chasing however, finding only one too good on each of his first two outings over fences at Hereford and Newbury, before getting off the mark over the larger obstacles with a win at Haydock over Whatswrongwithyou.

He again ran below par back at this track behind Siruh Du Lac, and so his course form has to be a slight concern; but he possibly just failed to see out the trip up the stiff Cheltenham hill, and he readily bounced back at Fakenham latest when jumping soundly to beat Delire D’estruval easily.

Keeping to this two mile trip over fences could prove ideal, and he has proven himself to be a versatile performer with regards to ground conditions. Having been raised only 1lb in the wake of that latest success he can give another good account if fears over the track prove unfounded.

BUN DORAN (20/1, Paddy Power) has a good record at this venue, and Tom George’s charge ought to give a good account.

The Shantou gelding was quickly sent chasing after just three runs over hurdles, and that appears to be a good decision given he has shown plenty of useful form over the larger obstacles, getting off the mark at the second attempt with a defeat of Ash Park at Newcastle prior to finding Grade Two company behind Waiting Patiently too much.

However, he bounced back from that disappointing run to finish sixth in the 2017 Close Brothers Chase behind Tully East, and he subsequently went close at Aintree next time in the Red Rum Chase behind Double W’s, beaten five lengths.

Tom George’s charge failed to win in four starts last term, but he made the frame in three of them which included here behind Gino Trail on his seasonal debut; but he made a winning return to action this camaign with a defeat of Movie Legend here in November.

That form is standing up well, and the Shantou gelding lost no caste in defeat back here in December when finding only Ozzie The Oscar too strong when going down by just under four lengths, unable to match the winners’ effort.

While this mark could prove a stiff one, his record here makes him an interesting candidate, and underfoot conditions will hold no fears. He ought to remain competitive as a result back from a break, and having gone well fresh in the past he could produce a big effort.

2019 GRAND ANNUAL CHASE TIPS - TWO AGAINST THE FIELD


BRELAN D’AS (16/1, William Hill), BUN DORAN (20/1, Paddy Power

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2019 Grand Annual Chase tips - Two against the field for the penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival

Brian Healy gives his two against the field for an other competitive renewal of the Grand Annual Chase, the penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival.

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