Did you know that eight of the last 10 winners of the Betfair Denman Chase had previously won a Grade 1 over fences? Timeform's Adam Houghton discusses the key trends and talking points ahead of the latest edition of the race at Newbury on Sunday...
"Recent evidence suggests that it’s best to side with horses who have already proved themselves at the top level..."
Timeform on the Betfair Denman Chase
Smart Stat - Nine-year-olds have won only two of the last 20 renewals of the Denman Chase
Seven-year-olds have the best record in the Denman Chase since the turn of the century, winning eight of the 20 renewals in that time. However, there are no members of that age group amongst the eight runners for the 2021 edition.
Eight-year-olds have supplied six winners during the same period. There are three eight-year-olds in this year's line-up, namely Dashel Drasher, Kalashnikov and Terrefort.
Incidentally, the other five runners on Sunday are all nine-year-olds, a group that has thrown up only two winners of the Denman Chase since 2000, namely Farmer Jack (2005) and Houblon des Obeaux (2016).
Smart Stat - Eight of the last 10 winners had previously won a Grade 1 over fences
Recent evidence suggests that it's best to side with horses who have already proved themselves at the top level. For context, eight of the last 10 winners had previously won a Grade 1 over fences, with Harry Topper (2014) and Houblon des Obeaux (2016) being the only exceptions to that rule.
Clan des Obeaux, Kalashnikov, Lostintranslation and Terrefort are the only runners in this year's renewal with a Grade 1 victory already on their CV.
As for recent form, it's worth pointing out that a defeat last-time-out is no barrier to success in the Denman Chase given that five of the last 10 winners had been beaten on their latest start. Noland, for example, had been pulled up at Cheltenham on his previous outing, while Houblon des Obeaux arrived at Newbury after being beaten over 30 lengths in the Classic Chase at Warwick.
Supporters of Lostintranslation will be hoping he can bounce back on Saturday after being pulled-up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Smart Stat - Six of the last 10 winners achieved a Timeform performance rating of 160 or above
It often takes a high-class performance to win the Denman Chase, with six of the last 10 winners achieving a Timeform rating of 160 or above in victory. Long Run and Silviniaco Conti produced the best recent efforts in the race when successful in 2012 and 2013, respectively, both earning a Timeform rating of 172.
By contrast, Noland ran to a Timeform rating of just 143 when successful in 2011, with What A Friend - who was conceding 10 lb to the winner - emerging as the best horse at the weights in that renewal after being beaten just a head.
Lostintranslation (166?) and Clan des Obeaux (165) are both top-class chasers on their day and would be worthy winners of this year's Denman Chase, though Secret Investor is arguably the pick of the eight runners at the weights. He has a Timeform rating of 161 and receives 6 lb from the two market principals.
At the other end of the spectrum, Cepage (158), Dashel Drasher (158), Kalashnikov (157), Terrefort (155?) and The Conditional (148) would all need to improve on their current Timeform ratings to win an average renewal of this Grade 2.
Smart Stat - Paul Nicholls is the most successful trainer in the history of the Denman Chase with nine wins
Four of the trainers with runners in this year's Denman Chase have previously won the race. Colin Tizzard will be hoping Lostintranslation can add to Native River's hat-trick of wins (2017, 2018 and 2020), while Terrefort represents the Nicky Henderson yard that won the Denman Chase with Bacchanal in 2002 and Long Run in 2012. Venetia Williams, trainer of Cepage, has also won the race courtesy of Houblon des Obeaux in 2016.
However, by far the most successful trainer in the history of the Denman Chase is Paul Nicholls, who has previously been successful with See More Business (2000), Shotgun Willy (2001), Valley Henry (2003), Kauto Star (2007), Denman (2008), Tricky Trickster (2010), Noland (2011), Silviniaco Conti (2013) and Clan des Obeaux (2019).
Nicholls is set to be double-handed as he attempts to bring up his tenth win in the race on Saturday, with 2019 winner Clan des Obeaux and Secret Investor, who filled the runner-up spot behind Native River in 2020, both looking to hold sound claims.
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