Aintree has a novice chase on each day of the Grand National Festival, on Friday’s Ladies Day it is the Mildmay Novices Chase. At 3 miles and 1 furlong, this is for staying chasers and often attracts runners who have competed in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
The first running of this contest was in 1981, and the race takes place on the tight Mildmay course, as opposed to the Grand national course. Many of the winners here have gone on to win some of the biggest races in the sport, including the Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup, King George VI Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Mildmay Novices' Chase Past Winners
|2021||Chantry House||11/8||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville|
|2019||Lostintranslation||3/1||Colin Tizzard||Robbie Power|
|2018||Terrefort||3/1||Nicky Henderson||Daryl Jacob|
|2017||Might Bite||8/13||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville|
|2016||Native River||11/2||Colin Tizzard||Richard Johnson|
|2015||Saphir Du Rheu||13/8||Paul Nicholls||Sam Twiston-Davies|
|2014||Holywell||7/2||Jonjo O'Neill||A P McCoy|
|2013||Dynaste||9/4||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2012||Silviniaco Conti||7/4||Paul Nicholls||Ruby Walsh|
|2011||Quito De La Roque||6/1||Colm Murphy||Davy Russell|
|2010||Burton Port||9/2||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2009||Killyglen||7/1||Howard Johnson||Denis O'Regan|
|2008||Big Buck's||11/4||Paul Nicholls||Ruby Walsh|
|2007||Aces Four||5/2||Ferdy Murphy||Graham Lee|
|2006||Star De Mohaison||11/4||Paul Nicholls||Barry Geraghty|
|2005||Like-A-Butterfly||6/1||Christy Roche||A P McCoy|
|2004||Simply Supreme||13/2||Sue Smith||Richie McGrath|
|2003||Irish Hussar||3/1||Nicky Henderson||Mick Fitzgerald|
|2002||Barton||3/1||Tim Easterby||Tony Dobbin|
About the Mildmay Novices’ Chase: Rookie Chasers Take Centre Stage
The Mildmay Novices’ Chase is one of Aintree’s more recent additions. The prestigious contest was only first conceived in 1981, making it one of the younger races in this sport’s calendar. This particular contest is a National Hunt chase and includes 19 obstacles for the horses to negotiate.
As a novice race the field is only made up of horses who have not won a contest of this kind before the start of the season. Also, to be able to compete horses must be five years of age and older. Though do not let that fool you, as the equestrian quality on show is simply world class and any horse that does well here should certainly be one to follow.
The race itself was only changed to a Grade 1 contest in 2014, however that doesn’t diminish the highly rated winners prior to that. In fact the first two winners ever in Bregawn and Burrough Hill, both went on to score at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Not an easy task by anyone’s standards.
Another early winner, Rhyme ‘n’ Reason, successful in 1985, would go on to land the Grand National, so this race really is a great indicator of success in future tests of stamina. Future success for winning horses has been something we have seen throughout the entire history of the race, with 1990 victor Royal Athlete another to do the Mildmay/Grand National double. Some of the more recent winners of this novice contest which you may remember are Big Buck’s (who of course would have more success as a hurdler), Silviniaco Conti, Saphir Du Rheu and Native River.
The Mildmay Novices’ Chase has similar conditions to another race which is run in March at the Cheltenham Festival. The RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase is quite alike the Mildmay Chase, and as such there is often a similar field over the two races for horses capable of the quick turnaround required.
Same Season RSA and Mildmay Chase Runners: 2014 – 2019
|Year||Horse||Trainer||RSA Chase Position||Mildmay Chase Position|
|2019||Topofthegame||Paul Nicholls||Winner @ 4/1||Second @ 10/11|
|Top Ville Ben||Philip Kirby||Fell @ 33/1||Third @ 14/1|
|2018||Elegant Escape||Colin Tizzard||Third @ 9/1||Third @ 4/1|
|Black Corton||Paul Nicholls||Fifth @ 5/1||Fourth @ 6/1|
|2017||Might Bite||Nicky Henderson||First @ 7/2||First @ 8/13|
|Whisper||Nicky Henderson||Second @ 9/2||Second @ 9/4|
|Marinero||Henry de Bromhead||Unseated Rider @ 25/1||Fourth @ 14/1|
|2016||Blaklion||Nigel Twiston-Davies||First @ 8/1||Third @ 3/1|
|Roi Des Francs||Willie Mullins||Sixth @ 10/1||Sixth @ 10/1|
|2014||Don Cossack||Gordon Elliott||Fell @ 11/1||Second @ 4/1|
|Many Clouds||Oliver Sherwood||Brought Down @ 16/1||Fourth @ 6/1|
|O’Faolains Boy||Rebecca Curtis||Winner @ 12/1||Sixth @ 3/1|
|Just A Par||Paul Nicholls||Seventh @ 16/1||Sixth @ 12/1|
In 2017 Irish horse Might Bite was able to secure first place in both chases, a feat only ever achieved twice before and a real feather in the caps of both trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico De Boinville. The other two were Star De Mohaison for Paul Nicholls and Barry Geraghty in 2006 and Monsieur Le Cure for John Edwards and Peter Niven in 1994.
Ahead of the Pack
Throughout the many years that this contest has been gracing the racing calendar there has been many a world class jockey riding the winner. However, there is only one man who has won the race four times. That jockey is Richard Dunwoody who had his four winning runs between 1987 and 1997. The champion jockey has Richard Johnson nipping at his heels though, with three wins to his name. Johnson still has time to add more in the future, unlike Tony McCoy who is also on three wins, but has since hung up his whip.
On the trainer side of the Mildway Novices’ Chase, that man Henderson is the only one who has secured five winning runners. A man of his esteem, hunger and ability to secure victory from the toughest of fields may well not be finished just yet either. In saying that though, there is one other trainer close behind him. Paul Nicholls was the leading trainer in this race after his 2015 win took him to four, but wins in 2017 and 2018 for Henderson has moved him above by the narrowest of margins. It is only left to see who can produce the next winner.
Top Mildmay Novices’ Chase Trainers: 1981 – 2019
|Wins||Trainer||First Win (Horse)||Last Win (Horse)|
|5||Nicky Henderson||1991 (Sparkling Flame)||2018 (Terrefort)|
|4||Paul Nicholls||2006 (Star De Mohaison)||2015 (Saphir Du Rheu)|
|3||Martin Pipe||1984 (Baron Blakeney)||1995 (Cyborgo)|
|Jenny Pitman||1982 (Burrough Hill Lad)||1990 (Royal Athlete)|
|2||Colin Tizzard||2016 (Native River)||2019 (Lostintranslation)|
|David Nicholson||1987 (Against The Grain)||1999 (Spendid)|
|Richard Lee||1988 (Delius)||1989 (Swardean)|
The Stats Backing Lucky Number 7
There are some interesting statistics regarding the ages of the winning horses for this race, as you can see from the chart below.
For the races run since 1981 there is a definite trend, showing that horses aged six or seven have won 69% of all the contests run. That’s not surprising given this is a novice’s affair but more specifically seven year olds alone have won 46% of all races run. So, if you are a gambling person, and we assume you are, you might be best focussing on lucky number seven.