The Paddy Power Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) at Cheltenham on January 1st could provide some Cheltenham Festival tips.
This Grade 2 race, more commonly referred to as the Dipper Novices’ Chase, has a history of locating festival winners, and this year’s race appeared to be up to par.
In the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, for which he is no bigger than 5-1 and only behind Gerri Colombe in the betting, the Real Whacker, who scored at 10-1, put on a bold show from the front and will benefit from his accurate jumping.
At Cheltenham, the Real Whacker was able to lose 3 pounds to the second (Monmiral) and third (Thunder Rock). The former was making his second start in a chase after finishing second to the Arkle favorite Jonbon in his first start. Since then, he was dissatisfied in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, and it’s possible that his connections have decided to give him a break so that he can keep his novice status for the following season.
Given that he came from the back of the five-runner field, Olly Murphy’s Thunder Rock might improve his Dipper performance. In the Scilly Isles, he changed form with Monmiral and is now going the right way over fences. He can still compete in handicaps and Grade 1 races.
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