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2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Tips - Two against the field in Festival's first handicap

jon-vine
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Last updated: 14 Mar 2022
Jon Vine 14 Mar 2022
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  • Ante-post tips and odds for the 2022 Ultima Handicap Chase
  • This handicap takes place on day one of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday 15th March 2022
  • Does He Know is the current market leader
  • We've backed Full Back and Rapper at each way prices
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full back cheltenham
Jamie Moore riding Full Back clear the last to win The New Four Eighty Restaurant At Cheltenham Festival Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. (Getty)

The first handicap to be staged during the Cheltenham Festival is the Ultima Handicap Chase. This 25-furlong contest has been won by many excellent chasers down the years, including futures winners of both the Gold Cup and the Grand National.

I've taken a look through the current Ultima Handicap Chase betting and listed four key trends, before picking out my best Cheltenham Festival bets.

2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Odds


Name
Odds
Does He Know8/1
Frontal Assault9/1
Death Duty9/1
Aye Right10/1
Corach Rambler10/1
Fantastikas10/1
Floueur10/1
The Shunter10/1
Bar12/1

2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Trends


  • All of the last 10 winners were trained in Britain
  • All of the last 10 winners had previously run at Cheltenham (Seven of the ten had run at Cheltenham that season)
  • All of the last 10 winners had previously won over at least three miles
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had run at least five times over fences

2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Runners

Frodon tops the weights for the Ultima if he was to take up his entry, which I highly doubt he will. Fury Road and Threeunderthrufive will run in either the Brown Advisory or the National Hunt. Aye Right and Lostintranslation will go for the Gold Cup and I’d be surprised if The Shunter didn’t run in the Coral Cup off his much more lenient hurdles mark.

If the seven top-rated runners don’t run, then that would leave current market leader, Does He Know carrying top-weight. Kim Bailey didn’t seem too keen on going to Cheltenham when he spoke to the press before Does He Know won the Rendlesham, and trying to win a handicap as grueling as this under 11-12 would be a huge ask for a novice.

Plenty of Irish raiders are prominent in the betting, including 11-year-old Death Duty, who Gordon Elliott claimed was his best-handicapped horse at the Cheltenham Festival when the weights were announced. While Death Duty, Floueur and Noble Yeats are not without a chance, Irish horses boast a dismal record in the Ultima, so I’ll be taking them on with two home challengers at each way prices.

2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Tip 1 – Full Back

My first fancy is Gary Moore’s FULL BACK, who won the 26-furlong handicap staged here at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Jamie Moore’s mount was left in the lead five fences from home when Destinee Royale fell. Full Back outjumped his rivals at the final few obstacles and was strong enough, despite idling after jumping the last, to repel the challenge of The Wolf to win by two lengths.

That was a welcome return to the winners’ enclosure for Moore’s seven-year-old, who won twice over fences as a novice last season. Full Back had gone four races without a win, a sequence that included a distant eighth place finish in the Ladbrokes Trophy. Following that win at Cheltenham, Niall Houlihan took the ride as Full Back clashed with the three-time defending champion, Yala Enki in the Portman Cup and he produced another solid run, losing out by just four lengths to the odds-on favourite.

Despite clocking an RPR of 149 at Taunton, the handicapper has only upped Full Back one pound to an official mark of 140. Moore’s charge reached that rating as a novice before his form drifted slightly and there’s no doubting that he’s a better, more mature horse now. If he runs, I think Full Back has an excellent chance.

rapper chase
Tom O'Brien riding Rapper (R) clear the last to win The Dick Hunt Handicap Chase at Wincanton Racecourse. (Getty)

2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Tip 2 – Rapper

I considered Kiltealy Briggs as my second selection. Jamie Snowden’s second-season novice is well-handicapped, I’m just not sure he really wants to be going three miles. Come On Teddy and Empire Steel also made it onto my shortlist but, in the end, I’ve gone for RAPPER, who’ll be looking for his third win in a row when he runs on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.

Henry Daly’s charge ran in the Pertemps Final as a six-year-old in 2020 and was leading travelling well turning for home, before the fancied Irish runners came through to relegate him back to seventh. Rapper then finished a good fourth on his chase debut at Aintree the following autumn, before injury ruled him out for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign. 

After returning with a run over hurdles in the autumn, Rapper finished a good second to Jeremys Pass in a handicap chase at Ascot on Coral Hurdle day. Daly’s eight-year-old has won twice since that encouraging performance, cruising to a three-length success at Catterick before running down El Paso Wood to score under top-weight at Wincanton in February. 

Rapper has risen up the weights by nine pounds for those victories, but I think there’s more progression still to come. He could go well for an in-form trainer in Henry Daly, who’s enjoying one of his most successful seasons.

Verdict

Full Back and Rapper are my two against the field in this year’s Ultima Handicap Chase.

2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Tip 1: Full Back Each-Way @14/1 at Hollywood bets - 8 Units
2022 Ultima Handicap Chase Tip 2: Rapper Each-Way @25/1 at bet365 - 5 Units
Full Back
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@14/1 - 8 Units
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2022 Ultima Handicap Chase