Topham Handicap Chase Betting Tips, Stats & History

There are three races that make use of the Grand National fences during the Aintree Festival and Friday’s ultra-competitive Topham Chase is one of them. It doesn’t require the same level of stamina as the Grand National itself, but a high standard of jumping is certainly the order of the day.

Race Info

This race has been a regular feature at Aintree since 1949 and has been responsible for some hugely entertaining contests in this time. Although it is open to five year olds and older, you don’t tend to see too many winners at, or close to the minimum age. Since 1999 there have only been four Topham Chase champions aged seven or younger.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good To Soft 2m5f Grade 3 £140,000 30 Runners Max 1/4 1-4

Topham Handicap Chase Betting Tips

Aintree, 16:05, Friday 5th April 2019

Looking good value to leap her way to victory this year is last year’s third place finisher, Theatre Territory.

Always Waining secured victory in this race on three consecutive occasions between 2010 and 2012, a historic feat. Trainer Nicky Henderson then secured a hat-trick of victories himself but each time with a different horse.

The big field this race attracts means there’s rarely a small priced winner. Ma Filleule is the only victor in the last nine renewals who set off at a single digit price.

A thrilling spectacle awaits us as ever here, in the race which annually serves to whet the appetite ahead of the big one on Saturday. There look to be a number of potentially well handicapped runners in the field, but will they take to these big fences? Overall we prefer proven course form here.

Jan The Man For Jacob?

Of the trainers on show this year it is Nicky Henderson who has the best record in this race, with five wins in all, and it is he who is responsible for the current favourite, Janika. This son of Saddler Maker only joined the yard in October 2018, and has enjoyed a solid – if slightly frustrating – start to life in Britain, having filled the runners up spot in each of his three starts for Henderson to date.

That consistency was really a carryover from his French form, where he was never out of the first two in four starts over fences. He jumps well, stays well and should go well for Daryl Jacob, but he has now gone up 12lbs in the handicap for not winning, which would be the only real negative against his chances.

Territory On The Premises Again?

If Janika doesn’t look particularly well handicapped on the face of it, one runner who does look to boast solid claims on the book is the Warren Greatrex trained mare, Theatre Territory. Despite being a good ground horse, this one ran a cracker to finish third on heavy going in this race last year, looking to be in with an excellent chance, only to tire close home.

The better ground this year should mean this isn’t anything like so much of a slog, and she is two pounds lower headed into the race this time around. She can be forgiven her disappointing run last time out as her girth slipped, and there’s not too much not to like about the each way claims of this excellent jumper.

Vale Victorious

We like form over the big fences when it comes to this race, and one who scores close to top marks in that respect is Nicky Henderson’s apparent second string, Kilcrea Vale. Fourth in this 12 months ago – when doing well to finish even that close having been badly hampered – he was then second over the course and distance in the Becher Chase here in December. Beaten just two and a quarter lengths by Warrior’s Tale that day, when running off 135, he is handicapped to go close off 132 here. He has disappointed in three subsequent efforts, but perhaps a return to this track will spark a revival.

Final Verdict: Theatre Territory each way

Janika does look to have a touch of class about him and ran an excellent race at Cheltenham last time out. This will be his first experience of the National course though which is enough to put us off at single figure odds.

Kilcrea Vale, Theatre Territory and Call It Magic – who he haven’t mentioned yet – do all have solid course form to their names, with the vote going to the Greatrex mare. On a lower mark than when hitting the frame last year, the ground has come in her favour and she’s fancied to run a big race.

Recent Winners

2019 Cadmium 8/1 Willie Mullins Paul Townend
2018 Ultragold 14/1 Colin Tizzard Harry Cobden
2017 Ultragold 50/1 Colin Tizzard Harry Cobden
2016 Eastlake 22/1 Jonjo O’Neill Barry Geraghty
2015 Rajdhani Express 10/1 Nicky Henderson Sam Waley-Cohen
2014 Ma Filleule 9/1 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty
2013 Triolo D'Alene 14/1 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty
2012 Always Waining 11/1 Peter Bowen Tom O'Brien
2011 Always Waining 14/1 Peter Bowen Tom O'Brien
2010 Always Waining 22/1 Peter Bowen Brian Hughes

About the Topham Chase

The Topham chase is a National Hunt Steeplechase which is run at the Aintree Race Course at its annual meeting in early April of each year and is one of the ‘best of the rest’ at the meeting which features the biggest race of them all. The horse racing extravaganza plays host to the Grand National that same weekend, and the Topham Chase is one of the three contests to use the Grand National fences. The other being the amateur outing known as the Foxhunters’ Chase.

This highly rated race has been an annual feature at the Grand National meeting since 1949, and draws with it the very best in horses, jockeys and trainers alike. From the years of 1989 to 2001 there was a name change applied to the steeplechase in order to honour the late course clerk John Hughes, before reverting back to its current title.

A History of Winners

Throughout the years this highly contested race has produced some formidable winners. Though due to the highly competitive field only a handful of horses have claimed first place more than once. Culworth in 1950 and 1951, Roughan in 1957 and 1958 then Ultragold in 2017 and 2018. However, it was in 2012 that the record was set by Always Waining by winning the race for the third time in a row.

Chart Showing the Horse Who Have Won Multiple Topham Chases Between 1949 and 2019

The challenging run has seen many of the greatest from the world of National Hunt racing grace the track. From the jockey side of the contest there is no shortage of world class talent among the winners, though only two of them have managed to win the occasion three times. Those jockeys are none other than Richard Dunwoody (from 1986 to 1992) and Barry Geraghty, who managed three wins in only four years from 2013 to 2016. However, it is Geraghty who is still in the saddle these days so would edge ahead with the record if he can find one more win.

List of Multiple Topham Chase Winning Jockeys: 1949 - 2019

Jockey Year (Horse) Year (Horse) Year (Horse)
Barry Geraghty 2013 (Triolo D'Alene) 2014 (Ma Filleule) 2016 (Eastlake)
Richard Dunwoody 1986 (Glenrue) 1990 (Wont Be Gone Long) 1992 (The Antartex)
Harry Cobden 2017 (Ultragold) 2018 (Ultragold)
Sam Waley-Cohen 2006 (Liberthine) 2015 (Rajdhani Express)
Tom O'Brien 2011 (Always Waining) 2012 (Always Waining)
Ruby Walsh 2002 (Its Time For A Win) 2008 (Gwanko)
Tony McCoy 1998 (Cyfor Malta) 2000 (Northern Starlight)
Josh Gifford 1962 (Dagmar Gittell) 1966 (Walpole)
R Curran 1950 (Culworth) 1951 (Culworth)

Similar to the jockeys who have secured the honours at the Topham Chase, the trainers list of winners is just as impressive, if not more so. The world-beating Nicky Henderson currently has the most wins with a record five successful rides, one ahead of Mr W Hall and Peter Bowen. Henderson shot his way up the wins table with three in a row from 2013 to 2015 and did so, rather impressively, with three different horses.

List of Multiple Topham Chase Winning Trainers: 1949 - 2019

Wins Trainer First Win (Horse) Last Win (Horse)
5 Nicky Henderson 1990 (Wont Be Gone Long) 2015 (Rajdhani Express)
4 Peter Bowen 2007 (Dunbrody Millar) 2012 (Always Waining)
4 W Hall 1950 (Culworth) 1974 (Clear Cut)
2 Willie Mullins 2002 (Its Time For A Win) 2019 (Cadmium)
2 Colin Tizzard 2017 (Ultragold) 2018 (Ultragold)
2 Jonjo O'Neill 2003 (Clan Royal) 2016 (Eastlake)
2 Nigel Twiston-Davies 1994 (Indian Tonic) 2009 (Irish Raptor)
2 Steve Brookshaw 1999 (Listen Timmy) 2004 (Cassia Heights)
2 Philip Hobbs 1997 (Bells Life) 2001 (Gower-Slave)
2 Martin Pipe 1998 (Cyfor Malta) 2000 (Northern Starlight)
2 Toby Balding 1969 (Dozo) 1993 (Sirrah Jay)
2 Arthur Stephenson 1971 (Rigton Prince) 1989 (Villierstown)
2 Fred Rimell 1972 (Sunny Lad) 1978 (Canit)
2 Peter Cazalet 1961 (Cupid's Charge) 1973 (Inch Arran)
2 Bob Turnell 1964 (Red Tide) 1970 (Charter Flight)
2 Bobby Renton 1954 (Little Yid) 1962 (Dagmar Gittell)
2 Neville Crump 1957 (Roughan) 1958 (Roughan)

A Mature Affair

Having looked at the previous results dating back to 1949 we are able to see a certain trend, as shown by the chart below.

Chart Showing the Ages of Topham Chase Winners Between 1949 and 2019

It is quite clear that over the nine different age groups that have been successful, it is the ages of eight to 10 years old which have seen the majority of the success. These age groups have been winners 63% of the time, with 9 and 10 year olds alone having won 53% of the races since 1990.

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