The big betting race at Warwick this Saturday, 15 January, is the 3m 5f Grade 3 Classic Chase (3:00). This year’s renewal of this unofficial Grand National trial sees 15 runners declared. Check out the horses of interest to our experts for this long-distance handicap with a shortlist of 2022 Classic Chase tips here.
Coming here with time since the last run has been a hallmark of success. Five of the last six Classic Chase winners turned out previously no sooner than 26 days beforehand. Four of those had a five-week break or more since they were last out on the track. Running at Warwick completely fresh isn’t advised, though, with all recent winners arriving off the back of at least on racecourse outing in the campaign.
While one of the joint-favourites landed the spoils 12 months ago, and more on him below, horse racing betting sites haven’t always got the market right. Three of the six most recent Classic Chase winners had a starting price of 12/1 and bigger. It could be pay to look beyond the market principals in this stamina test, then.
One of the more curious Classic Chase trends punters should know relates to Exeter Racecourse. That track bears little resemblance to Warwick, being right-handed and undulating. However, five of the seven most recent winners of this contest had an earlier success at Exeter in their career. This may be to do with both courses coming up soft ground wise during the core National Hunt season.
There’s no real age profile to speak of for the Classic Chase. Horses from seven-year-olds up to 11 have all won the race recently. A win or placed effort over 3m or further is essential, though. Now let’s take a look at our experts’ 2022 Classic Chase tips in full.
Why Gericault Roque is a Classic Chase betting fancy
Pond House trainer David Pipe saw famous father Martin saddle Aquilifier to win this race way back in 1991 when it was run as the Oxo National. More than 30 years on, the yard has a leading contender in Gericault Roque if the betting is any indicator. Owned by Prof Caroline Tisdall and Bryan Drew, this six-year-old Montmartre gelding has run a couple of fine races in defeat recently.
Gericault Roque won two of his three hurdles outings last term but shaped as if needing the run when a beaten favourite with online bookmakers and third on reappearance at Wetherby. He was entitled to strip fitter for that, his chasing debut, and put in a much better performance when upped in trip at Chepstow. Gericault Roque was held just half-a-length by the determined Pat’s Fancy, who has won at the same venue again since.
Broken Halo, a couple of lengths further behind in third, has also advertised this form when bolting up at Exeter. Connections then stepped Gericault Roque up in trip again for the 3m 2f Mandarin Handicap Chase at Newbury in between Christmas and New Year. He again ran well, only finding the in-form Saint Palais completing a hat-trick at his expense. The front two pulled 11 lengths and upwards clear of the others too.
Pipe goes over a longer distance with Gericault Roque once more in the Classic Chase here. Given his stamina laden pedigree, especially on the dam side, that is no problem. That is why BoyleSports are 4/1 about Gericault Roque going one better here after just three outings over fences. He is a massive 16lb higher than his last winning hurdles mark, though, so this favourite can be opposed.
Corach Rambler a contender despite top weight
Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell saddled One For Arthur to land this en route to Grand National glory at Aintree back in 2017. That clearly sticks in the minds of some bookies as the top weight Corach Rambler is another prominent in this year’s betting. This eight-year-old son of Jeremy could have run against fellow novices in the Grade 2 Hampton earlier on the card. Connections tackle this greater stamina test instead.
Corach Rambler is another progressive type over fences with two wins from three starts in this sphere. His chase debut third to Minella Trump at over an inadequate trip has worked out well. Each of first three home have won at least two races since. The winner went on to land a five-timer over fences. Corach Rambler scored himself off 127 at Aintree, then followed-up off 7lb higher when a well-backed 2/1 favourite in the Cheltenham betting in another novices’ limited handicap chase at the International Meeting.
He won that most recent outing in cosy style by a couple of lengths. The handicapper doesn’t relent, however, with a further 8lb rise in the rating of Corach Rambler. A mark of 142 comes with the welter burden of 11st 12lb in the Classic Chase, so demands plenty more from him. Corach Rambler is a 5/1 chance with Betfred to complete his hat-trick, but it won’t be easy conceding weight all-round.
Notachance on same mark as Classic Chase win
The handicapper has given last year’s Classic Chase winner Notachance every chance of a repeat bid, meanwhile. Trained by Alan King, this eight-year-old Mahler gelding landed the spoils 12 months ago off the same 139 rating he has again now. Notachance now meets re-opposing runner-up Achille off 4lb better terms, so should confirm firm with Venetia Williams’ veteran 12-year-old.
Three subsequent efforts when he failed to complete are a concern, however. Notachance pulled-up in the Grand National Trial at Haydock, Scottish Grand National at Ayr and on reappearance in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle. He was then a never dangerous sixth in the Tommy Whittle back at Haydock last time out. The assessor has cut Notachance plenty of slack for these efforts.
This is either a well-laid plan by shrewd trainer King or Notachance simply isn’t in the same shape as he was last winter. This renewal of the Classic Chase isn’t as classy on paper, so he must carry a lot more weight relative to the same rating 12 months ago. The bookies are suspicious of Notachance, though, and he’s 8/1 best with QuinnBet to pull off another Warwick win.
Eclair Surf an interesting each way player
Emma Lavelle trained the Classic Chase winner back in 2014, so Eclair Surf could be interesting. The eight-year-old Califet gelding has only ever won right-handed but likes soft ground and should relish this test on breeding. Eclair Surf saw the form of his debut Irish Point-to-Point third advertised by the winner, West Cork, who defied a lengthy racecourse absence to land the Greatwood Hurdle during the November Meeting at Cheltenham.
After bolting up between the flags next time out, he moved to Lavelle’s stable and won his hurdles bow at Exeter. Eclair Surf was held in such high regard by connections that he ran in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury on just his second start under Rules. While that didn’t work out, he was bred to be a chaser, and has two wins and placed efforts in seven starts over fences.
Bottomless ground is the key. Any frost and thaw that hits Warwick helps his chances. Eclair Surf won on his chase start at Hereford, then when back up to 3m at Sandown in February off 131. He’s just 2lb higher in the weights now. After falling when still holding every chance three out at Bangor on reappearance, Eclair Surf ran well in defeat at Chepstow last time out.
Although no match for the ready winner, Iwilldoit was clearly a handicap blot as he went on to land the Welsh Grand National despite running from out of the weights. Eclair Surf had Truckers Lodge 10 lengths behind in fifth. That one went on to be third in the Welsh National, so the form looks decent. Now stepping up in trip again, Eclair Surf is an each way play among Classic Chase tips at a standout 12/1 with Bet365 here.
2022 Classic Chase Tips & Shortlist
Back these horses each way:
- Notachance @ 8/1 with QuinnBet (4 places, 1/5 outright odds)
- Eclair Surf @ 12/1 with Bet365 (4 places, 1/5 outright odds)