Saturday 23rd February, Kempton, 1:50pm, 2m 4½f (2m 4f 110y) 888Sport Pendil Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (5yo+)
The Pendil Novices’ Chase was established in 1965 and was known as The Galloway Braes Novices’ Chase – named after the 1953 King George VI Chase winner. For a period it was run over 2 miles but was extended to its current distance in 1990. In 1993 the event’s name was changed to the Pendil Novices’ Chase. Pendil won the King George VI Chase in 1972 and 1973. Trained by Fred Winter and ridden by Richard Pitman, Pendil was included in Robin Oakley’s 2012 book Britain and Ireland’s Top 100 Racehorses of all time.
The last 12 renewals have seen the favourite or joint favourite winning on eight occasions and horses in the top three in the betting winning on a further three occasions, making the betting a solid pointer as to a likely winner.
Six and seven year old runners have dominated the event over the same period with 10 winners. In fact, since 1987 the age group has won 21 of the 32 renewals.
A recent run before the race is advantageous as 10 of the winners had their previous run within 53 days of the race. Seven of the last 12 winners of the race also won on their previous start.
Previous chasing form is advantageous as nine of the previous 12 winners had run at least three times and 11 of the winners of the event having also run at least once over the larger obstacles.
Horses who have previously run at Kempton are also worth considering with six of the last 12 winners having run at least once at the course previously. All 12 winners had also previously run over distances between 2 miles 3 furlongs and 2 miles 5 furlongs and 10 of the winners has also won at least once over the same distances.
An Official Rating of 142 of higher has been required to win the race in 10 of the last 12 renewals and eight of the 12 winners had also previously won a Grade 1–3 race.
Current season’s form is also an important consideration as 10 of the last 12 winners and had run at least twice earlier in the season and 11 of the winners had won at least once earlier in the season.
Horses trained by Paul Nicholls require extremely careful consideration as he clearly targets the race. In the last 13 renewals he has won the race no fewer than 10 times.
The current favourite is the Paul Nicholls trained Secret Investor. The seven year old bay gelding, who runs off an Official Rating of 145, heads a field of four runners. He has won in the going and has wins over similar distances to this race. He has been tried twice over chase fences and is yet to win, having made a couple of mistakes in both races, but given his ability it is too early to write him off just yet. He has won over hurdles at Kempton previously, so the flat nature of the right hand course could well do the trick.
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