Grand Annual Chase Cheltenham Festival
The Guiness has all bee ndrunk and the betting slips tossed in the air as we come down to the final race of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. Don't forget that even now you can still pick up a free bet to spend on the final day of Festival!
The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase is one of the oldest races at the Cheltenham Festival and has a special place in many people's heart as itís the final race of the Festival each year. It's the only two-mile chase handicap of the Festival and is run a furious gallop, which usually sets the race up for a horse that has been held up way off the pace.
Known as the "getting out stakes" to punters due to its last race of the Festival tag the Grand Annual Chase has delivered for punters in recent years in that department as nine of the last fourteen races have been won by horses that started at 8/1 or shorter in the betting to the delight of the locals.
It is fitting that such a prestigious race is named after the man that saved the Cheltenham Festival. Johnny Henderson was aware in 1963 that there was a danger that property developers would buy Cheltenham racecourse, so together with other Jockey Club members he formed Racecourse Holdings Trust, a non-profit-making organisation, that raised £240,000 to purchase the racecourse, which subsequently breathed live back into horse racing.
When finding the winner of this race, punters have usually fared pretty well with plenty of well-backed horses causing bookmakers plenty of pain in the last race of week.
Punters have found that a certain type of rated horse as nine of the last 11 winners haven fallen into the ratings band of 129-134. Novices have also fared very strongly with 12 winners in the last 31 runnings and Bellvano stuck another blow for their generation by winning the 2012 in fine style.
Ridden supremely by the super-cool Paul Carberry, the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding travelled through the race like a stag before unleashing a snappy turn of foot in the final stages.