The Close Brothers Chase was first run back in 1988 and was staged as the Racing Post Chase until 2011 and then the Racing Plus Chase in 2012 & 2013. Leading bookmaker – BetBright – took over the sponsorship from 2014 till 2017. In 2020 we had another new backer of the race with leading bookmaker Betway taking over, while in 2021 the race will be run as the Close Brothers Chase.
This Grade Three handicap is run over a distance of 3m at Kempton Park racecourse the contest is often described as another Grand National trial, with two horses – Rhyme ‘n’ Reason and Rough Quest – landing both races in the same season, while it could pay to know that both those horses also contested the Cheltenham Gold Cup that season.
Did You Know – 15 of the last 18 winners were aged 9 or younger and finished in the top 5 last time out.
We take a look back at recent winners of the Close Brothers Chase and give you the key stats to look out for ahead of the 2021 renewal – this year run on Saturday February 27th.
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Recent Close Brothers Chase Winners
2020 – MISTER MALARKY (9/1)
2019 – WALT (14/1)
2018 – MASTER DEE (8/1)
2017 – PILGRIMS BAY (25/1)
2016 – THEATRE GUIDE (6/1)
2015 – ROCKY CREEK (8/1)
2014 – BALLY LEGEND (28/1)
2013 – OPENING BATSMAN (12/1)
2012 – NACARAT (9/2)
2011 – QUINZ (8/1)
2010 – RAZOR ROYALE (11/1)
2009 – NACARAT (10/1)
2008 – GUNGADU (4/1 fav)
2007 – SIMON (11/2)
2006 – INNOX (8/1)
2005 – FARMER JACK (5/1)
2004 – MARLBOROUGH (8/1)
2003 – LA LANDIERE (5/1 jfav)
Key Close Brothers Betting Trends
15/18 – Finished in the top 5 last time out
15/18 – Aged 9 or younger
15/18 – Rated 139 or higher
13/18 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
12/18 – Won a Class 2 chase or better before
12/18 – Carried 10-13 or more
12/18 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
12/18 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or more
12/18 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
11/18 – Came from the top 4 in the betting
11/18 – Rated between 139 and 150
10/18 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
8/18 – Carried 11-5 or more
7/18 – Had won at least 4 times over fences before
7/18 – Won last time out
6/18 – Aged 8 years-old
5/18 – French bred
4/18 – Winners that went onto run in that season’s Grand National (all unplaced)
4/18 – Raced at Cheltenham last time out
4/18 – Winners that went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (1 winner)
3/18 – Ridden by Paddy Brennan
2/18 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
2/18 – Ridden by Richard Johnson (won it 5 times in all)
2/18 – Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies
2/18 – Trained by Tom George
2/18 – Trained by Neil Mulholland (won 2 of the last 4)
2/18 – Trained by Colin Tizzard (won 2 of the last 4)
2/18 – Trained by Philip Hobbs (won it 4 times in all)
2/18 – Ran in the King George VI Chase last time out
Mister Malarky (9/1) won the race in 2020
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 12/1
Note: The 2006 running was staged at Sandown Park
Not long till the Cheltenham Festival folks – this time next month we’ll be within touching distance of the best four days on the jumping calendar, but before that there’s still plenty to look forward to with the Close Brothers Chase, at Kempton Park, one of the February features – run on Saturday 27th.
To slightly older racing fans, this race will still be referred to as the Racing Post Chase with the contest run under that title from 1988 till 2011!
This 3m Grade 3 Handicap Chase is steeped in history too, with greats like Crisp (1972) and Desert Orchid (1990) topping the hall of fame, while in more recent times trainers Colin Tizzard and Philip Hobbs, plus jockeys Richard Johnson, Paddy Brennan and Sam Twiston-Davies have all done well.
Yes, since 1999 the Hobbs camp have taken the race four times and jockey Richard Johnson has landed the spoils on five occasions. While in the last eleven renewals we’ve seen Paddy Brennan steer home three winners and Sam Twiston-Davies has ridden two of the last six.
Twelve months ago, in 2020 we saw the Colin Tizzard yard win their second success since 2016 with a horse called Mister Malarky and if this 8 year-old lines-up again he’ll be looking to become the first horse since Docklands Express (1991-92) to win this prize in back-to-back years.
Although, it’s worth pointing out, the popular grey – Nacarat – did take this race in 2009 and again in 2012.
So, what are the other main trends to look for? Being a handicap, then weight carried is a good place to start. With 12 of the last 18 winners carrying 10-13 or more then recent history has certainly favoured the classier runners in the field and this is further backed-up with 15 of the last 18 winners rated 139 or higher.
Heading into the race in decent form is another positive to look for with 15 of the last 18 winners being placed fifth of better last time out, with seven of the last 18 winners taking this off the back of a recent win.
Having raced in the last 8 weeks is also key with 13 of the last 18 winners falling into that bracket and in terms of age then really, we should concentrate on those aged 9 or younger – this age group have been responsible for 15 of the last 18 successful horses.
The market has also been a decent guide over the last 18 years with 11 of the last 18 winners hailing from the top four in the betting – but it’s worth noting that we’ve seen just two winning favourites over that same period.
The winners, however, are often nearer the head of the market with 12 of the last 18 winners returning 9/1 or shorter in the betting. With that in mind, the suggestion here is to look out for the second, third and fourth favourites – as long as they are around 8/1 or shorter in the market.
So, there are plenty of key stats to take into the race once we know the final runners. But, in short, pay close attention to anything the Philip Hobbs and Colin Tizzard teams run, plus any horses that Richard Johnson, Sam Twiston-Davies and Paddy Brennan are riding. If any of these connections also have entries that have recently finished in the top five, are near the head of the betting, are aged 9 or younger and are carrying 10-13 in weight……….. then even better!