Cheltenham Handicap weights 2022 – Eye-catchers in the four handicap chases

Connections of Corach Rambler will be expecting big things in this year's Ultima.Connections of Corach Rambler will be expecting big things in this year's Ultima.

Cheltenham Handicap weights 2022 – Eye-catchers in the four handicap chases

The weights have been announced for the nine handicap races at the Cheltenham Festival 2022. The Cheltenham handicaps are notable for some major gambles so we have taken a look through the weights to see where the market movers might come from this year. We start with a look at the four festival handicap chases.

Ultima Handicap Chase – Corach Rambler 12-1 (NRNB)

As expected, Frodon tops the weights for the Ultima on 11st 12lbs, although he is not certain to take part. He is followed by Fury Road on 11st 8lbs who seems more likely to run in the National Hunt Chase. That could mean a weights rise and leave Aye Right on top of the pile. The ante-post favourite Does He Know has been rated 152. That leaves him 9lbs worse off with Corach Rambler who unseated his rider at the fifth last when closing at Ascot last month. The problem for Corach Rambler is that he is currently 52 in the weights with a maximum field of 24.

Grand Annual Chase – Embittered 16-1 (NRNB)

Last year’s winner Sky Pirate is rated 4lbs higher than last season and must try to defy 11st 12lbs. He was beaten 7 lengths by Brave Seasca at Warwick in January and is 10lbs better off with that rival. Editeur Du Gite has won his last two races at Cheltenham for the in-form Gary Moore and is up 6lbs while the prolific novice Ciel De Neige has been rated 152 for Willie Mullins.

The eye is drawn to Embittered on a rating of 145, trained by Joseph O’Brien. He has had a similar preparation to last year, finishing down the field in the Grade 1 Arkle before reverting to handicap company. He was a well-backed favourite last year but came down with Rachael Blackmore at the ninth fence when full of running.

Paddy Power Plate – Celebre D’Allen 6-1 (NRNB)

The Shunter was one of the gambles of the meeting last year when landing the Plate at 9-4 favourite. He has since been purchased by JP McManus but is finding life tougher off his new handicap mark of 153 and shares top weight on 11st 12lbs. Imperial Alcazar was very impressive here in January and is up 8lbs as a result, taking him up to 11st 9lbs.

Birchdale appears to face a daunting task on a 15lbs higher mark than his win in a valuable handicap chase at Leopardstown last month. Celebre D’Allen is in the form of his life for Philip Hobbs at present and is up 6lbs for his recent success at Warwick.

Kim Muir Challenge Cup – Diol Ker 14-1 (NRNB)

Frontal Assault is the ante-post favourite but has been allotted top weight of 11st 12lbs and a rating of 145. That won’t make things easy for a horse having only his fourth race over fences. School Boy Hours is 9lbs higher than when winning the £100,000 Paddy Power Chase. He wouldn’t be out of it on that mark but Trainer Noel Meade indicated that the horse may bypass the festival and go straight to Aintree for the Grand National.

There is no Grand National entry for stable companion Diol Ker, a fair fourth in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park. However, he is entered for the Leinster National on the weekend before Cheltenham off a 5lbs lower mark. We recommend taking advantage of the “non-runner – no bet” concession offered by most bookmakers for all of your Cheltenham Festival wagers.