At 4 miles 1½ furlongs, Newcastle’s Eider Chase is one of the longest National Hunt races on the calendar. As a result of its marathon distance, this race is a major indicator for both the Grand National held at Aintree and Scottish Grand National from Ayr in April and also the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter in March. Comply Or Die, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Timmy Murphy, was the last horse to take this race before victory that year in the big one at Aintree, doing so in 2008.
First run in 1952, one of this race’s major challenges has been defeating the weather over the years, with snow, frost and waterlogging persistently causing problems for the North East track in February.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 23rd February 2019
- Winner: Crosspark
- SP: 12/1
- Trainer: Caroline Bailey
- Jockey: Jamie Moore
A marathon 4m1½f is the trip for this Class 2 Handicap Chase contest which offers £80,000 in guaranteed prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as heavy, and with winds and further rain forecast, this looks like being a real war of attrition this year.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Heavy||4m1½f||Class 2||£80,000||17 Runners||1/4 1-4|
Eider Handicap Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Please note that the 2020 Eider Chase Raceday was abandoned due to water logging.
Whilst this race is open to all chasers aged five and older, none so young have ever come home in front here and that’s an obvious starting point in terms of whittling the field down. With no winner younger than seven in the history of the contest, it seems that a certain toughness which comes with age is required for success in this gruelling event. Each of the past six editions have been landed by a runner aged nine or older and conditions this year will certainly require plenty of toughness.
Lumping a big weight around here has also proven to be a tall order of late and once again the weather means that may be even more the case this year. Portrait King did carry 11st 8lbs to victory in 2012, but other than that, each of the winners in the past 10 years have been saddled with 11stlb or less.
This contest hasn’t been the strongest race for trainer trends, with multiple winners something of a rarity these days. Of the trainers on show in the 2020 edition only Tony Martin and David Pipe have a previous win in the race. Martin sends Cle En Main over from Ireland this year, whilst Pipe will be represented by one of the current favourites for the race – Hugo ‘N Taz, who is our tip for glory.
CALIPSO COLLONGES (6/1)
Currently at the joint head of the betting for this year’s renewal is the Olly Murphy-trained, Calipso Collonges. An official rating of 130 does put him 3lb above his career high winning mark, but he has the assistance of 3lb claimer Fergus Gregory in the saddle to offset that, and as such looks handicapped to go close.
The eight year old also seems to be improving with each run this season, with his second to Lord Du Mesnil off level weights last time out in particular looking like a solid effort. He may have been beaten 13-lengths that day, but the winner is now up to a mark of 147, and there was seven lengths back to Peter Marsh Chase winner Vintage Clouds in third. With each of his five career wins having come on soft or worse going, conditions are unlikely to prove an issue, but he is yet to race beyond 3m2f which certainly does poses a question.
HUGO ‘N TAZ (7/1)
David Pipe’s one and only win in this race came when saddling Comply Or Die to victory in 2008, with that horse of course famously going on to land that year’s Grand National. Whether Pipe’s 2020 representative, Hugo N’ Taz can go on to scale such heights remains to be seen, but he does look to have a solid chance in this at least.
As a nine year old saddled with 10st10lb, this son of Kayf Tara is a solid fit on the recent trends and arrives at the top of his game having scored at Market Rasen last time out in the Lincolnshire National. That effort – which came on both his first start for the yard and his first since a wind op – was by some way the best of his career to date and augurs well for the season ahead.
Expected to come on for that outing, an 8lb hike in the handicap may not be enough to stop him, whilst the fact that he has been mentioned as a National Hunt Chase type would suggest that stamina isn’t expected to prove an issue. In a competitive renewal, he narrowly gets our vote and appears to offer decent value.
PRIME VENTURE (7/1)
A burden of 11st12lb will undoubtedly make life tough to say the least for the Evan Williams runner, Prime Venture, but other than that, this tough staying nine year old would look to have plenty in his favour. Whilst he is yet to win over fences, he has run a number of excellent races in arguably better contests than this, and handles give underfoot well.
Beaten in a three-horse race possibly not run to suit last time out, it is his effort in the Welsh Grand National earlier in the season which catches our eye. Staying on resolutely into fourth in the heavy ground that day, he is only 1lb higher here and the additional distance may well be in his favour.
GLITTERING LOVE (16/1)
One of the more interesting contenders at a double figure price is the Nicky Richards-trained eight year old, Glittering Love. Hugely progressive last season when improving from a mark of 92 to 125 on the back of four successive wins, he then looked all set to make that five on the bounce first time up this season, before coming to grief five from home at this track when travelling much the best.
Returned to this venue again last time out, he didn’t quite look his usual self, but still plodded on to be third in a race which will hopefully have acted to at least restore his confidence. He certainly looks capable of winning off his current rating if putting it all together and already a six-time winner on soft or heavy ground, will have conditions to suit. 16/1 certainly looks of each way interest.
Eider Handicap Chase Winners
|2020||Meeting abandoned due to water logging|
|2019||Crosspark||12/1||Caroline Bailey||Jamie Moore|
|2018||Baywing||8/1||Nicky Richards||Ryan Day|
|2017||Mysteree||10/1||Michael Scudamore||Robert Dunne|
|2016||Rocking Blues||8/1||Rose Dobbin||Lorcan Murtagh|
|2015||Milborough||18/1||Ian Duncan||Graham Watters|
|2014||Wyck Hill||9/1||David Bridgewater||Tom Scudamore|
|2013||Meeting abandoned due to snow|
|2012||Portrait King||11/4||Maurice Phelan||Denis O'Regan|
|2011||Companero||16/1||Howard Johnson||Peter Buchanan|
About the Eider Chase: A Slog On The Tyne
February each year sees the North East venue of Newcastle play host to one of its biggest jumps races of the calendar year. Held over a distance of four miles and half a furlong and often run in pretty bottomless ground, the Eider Chase is undoubtedly one of the toughest and most stamina-sapping contests run anywhere in Britain or Ireland. This Class 2 handicap event is open to chasers aged five and older, with 25 fences standing between the competitors and glory.
The name of the race stems from a wildlife theme used in the naming of a number of the early races at Newcastle, with the “eider” being a breed of duck known to live in the Gosforth Park area where the track is located. The colour of the Eider Duck? Black and white of course like Newcastle’s famous football team.
The Northern National
Unsurprisingly given the demands of the contest, this race has often been used as a trial for the Grand National at Aintree over the years. First run in 1952 the race was even known as the “Northern National” during its early years. Since then a variety of sponsors – most notably the Tote – have lent their support to one of the North East’s major racing events, with betting firm Betfred taking over the reins in 2012 following their acquisition of the pool betting operator.
It has proven a tall order to win both this race and the Aintree Spectacular over the years, but not an impossible one, with Comply Or Die achieving the famous double in 2008 for David Pipe. The race can be a useful pointer towards other major staying chases on the racing calendar, with Willsford backing up a win here with a triumph in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in the same season. Merigo also went on to win the Scottish Grand National the season following his Eider win.
Eider Chase Winner’s Follow-Up Race: 2008 – 2019
|Year||Eider Chase Winner||Following Run|
|2019||Crosspark||Second in the Scottish Grand National (Ayr)|
|2018||Baywing||Second in the Liz Adam Memorial Chase (Kelso)|
|2017||Mysteree||Second in the Midlands Grand National (Uttoxeter)|
|2016||Rocking Blues||Did not run again|
|2015||Milborough||Unseated rider in the Scottish Grand National (Ayr)|
|2014||Wyck Hill||Sixth in the Midlands Grand National (Uttoxeter)|
|2012||Portrait King||Tenth in the Scottish Grand National (Ayr)|
|2011||Companero||Pulled-up in the Midlands Grand National (Uttoxeter)|
|2009||Merigo||Seventh in the Cumberland Handicap Chase (Carlisle)|
|2008||Comply Or Die||Winner of the Grand National (Aintree)|
Tough for The Young to Prevail
It may be open to runners aged five and older, but its proven tough for any so young to outstay their older, stronger rivals. No horse younger than seven years of age has ever come home in front in this. The table below gives a full breakdown of the age of the winners.
Wedding and Wyndburgh The Only Multiple Winners
A tough contest to win once, this race has proven to be an even harder race to win for a second time, with many former champions trying and failing over the years. Many, but not all. Wyndburgh landed back to back editions in 1957 and 1958, whilst Toby Balding’s Highland Wedding did even better than that when toughing it out in 1966, 1967 and 1969. That 1967 success was particularly notable as, as of 2018, the 12 stone he was saddled with that day remains the highest weight ever carried to victory in the race.
Multiple Eider Chase Winning Horses
|Horse||Trainer||Years of Victories (Weight Carried)|
|Highland Wedding||Toby Balding||1966 (10st 11lbs)||1967 (12st 0lbs)||1969 (11st 11lbs)|
|Wyndburgh||P Wilkinson||1957 (10st 4lbs)||1958 (11st 1lb)|
Oh Snow! It’s off again.
One of the unfortunate risks of staging a major horse race in Newcastle in the month of February is the fact that the weather often isn’t in the mood to co-operate. Be it due to waterlogging, snow or frost, the Eider Chase must be one of the most abandoned contests of the racing season, with no fewer than 21 editions biting the dust due to inclement conditions since 1952. The latest casualty was in 2020 when parts of the course were left water logged after heavy rain.