Tips and analysis from Racing Post ahead of Grimthorpe Chase Day at Doncaster Racecourse

It’s Grimthorpe Chase Day at Doncaster Racecourse on Saturday, February 29, with the £55,000 event live on ITV Racing and the centrepiece of an excellent seven-race card.

By Racing Post
Friday, 28th February 2020, 6:00 pm
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

There is over £150,000 of prize money on offer across the seven-race card which gets underway at 1.50pm and culminates at 5.20pm. The Racing Post have analysed all of action with stats and analysis.

Staged over three miles and two furlongs and with 19 fences to negotiate, the Grimthorpe Chae has an excellent history of throwing up some top-class winners including The Last Samuri in 2016 and Definitly Red in 2017. This year’s renewal looks high on quality and features the aforementioned Definitly Red. Now an 11-year-old, Brian Ellison’s charge showed he retains all his old enthusiasm when finishing a good second in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock in January. That was on heavy ground and a reproduction of that effort would see him go very close for a trainer currently enjoying a 13% strike-rate in the last fortnight.

The market for the Grimthorpe is headed by the Paul Nicholls-trained Worthy Farm. The seven-year-old has taken his form to another level with smart victories at Wincanton on his last two starts, jumping with aplomb on both occasions to plunder the spoils. However, this race is certainly a stiff test of his credentials and he could just be worth taking on against more established and seasoned handicappers. Nicholls, Britain’s 11-time and reigning champion jump trainer is however a man to be feared in current form, recording 18 winners from 46 runners in the last fortnight, a staggering 39% strike-rate, highlighting the wellbeing of his horses going into a spring campaign featuring the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals.

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Chidswell is the defending champion and enjoyed a nice prep run for this event when a creditable third in the Listed SkyBet Chase at Doncaster in January. Now an 11-year-old, he has to prove he can still mix it with some up and coming stars, whilst his trainer Nicky Richards has failed to hit the scoresheet from nine runners in the last 14 days. Others to consider include the unexposed Boldmere for Caroline Bailey. The seven-year-old was on course to land the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby last time out before falling at the final fence and warrants respect given he bolted up by 10 lengths at Doncaster over three miles earlier this season. Yalltari represents the in-form Venetia Williams and he bids to get back on track after disappointing when sent off favourite for a Listed contest at Ascot in December. He had previously looked progressive and may just have needed that run on his first start of the season.

Elsewhere on the card, Cill Anna looks capable of justifying favouritism for Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden in the £30,000 Listed Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at 3.00pm. The five-year-old daughter of Imperial Monarch is unbeaten in her last two starts, backing up victory at Warwick in December, with a facile seven-length success over a subsequent winner at Wincanton in January. This looks a shrewd bit of placing by Britain’s champion trainer and she can come out on top in the three-mile event, chiefly at the expense of Eleanor Bob, who is also unbeaten in her last two starts for Herefordshire handler Venetia Williams, which included a facile nine-length victory on heavy ground at Exeter in December. Williams, whose horses relish testing going is also enjoying a 22% strike-rate in the last two weeks.

The £30,000 Handicap Chase at 2.25pm looks ultra-competitive, but it could be worth noting that Barry Geraghty could have his only ride of the day at Town Moor on Dalila Du Seuil. Trained by Harry Fry, the seven-year-old was well-beaten at Doncaster behind Lady Buttons on her first start this term, but shaped encouragingly enough when second in a Listed event behind the high-class Maire Banrigh at Huntingdon last time out. Another name to note in that contest is the Paul Nicholls-trained Dolos, who returned to the winner’s enclosure in handicap company at Sandown earlier this month. A reproduction of that effort would see him go close in this event, whilst Nuts Well is the form horse in the event, having won his last three starts, progressing up the handicap to a mark of 152, a 22lb rise since his first victory at Wetherby in December.

The concluding £3,500 National Hunt Flat Race (5.20pm) could see a nice type in the contest with the Brian Ellison-trained Kearney Hill aiming to defy a penalty. The five-year-old son of Dylan Thomas was a head winner at Musselburgh earlier this month, but it was a smart victory and this £44,000 purchase has more to offer.

Doncaster Selections:

1.50pm 888Sport Handicap Hurdle (3m½f)

Selection: Blackjack Kentucky

2.25pm 888Sport Bet £10 Get £30 Handicap Chase (2m½f)

Selection: Dolos

3.00pm 888Sport Take 'Em On Mares' Novices' Hurdle (3m½f)

Selection: Cill Anna

3.35pm 888Sport Grimthorpe Chase (3m 2f)

Selection: Boldmere

4.10pm 888Sport Follow Us On Instagram Novices' Hurdle (2m 3½f)

Selection: Kepagge

4.45pm 888Sport Download The App Handicap Hurdle (2m½f)

Selection: Aeglos

5.20pm 888Sport Standard National Hunt Flat Race (2m½f)

Selection: Kearney Hill

For the latest results and racecards check the Racing Post