Cooper’s Cross will need to bounce back to form to win the Great Yorkshire Handicap Chase for the second season in a row.
The nine-year-old defeated Cap Du Nord, who props up the weights for Saturday’s 15:15, by a slim margin 12 months ago but has been pulled up twice and finished a distant eighth in three outings this campaign.
The key piece of form appears to be last month’s bet365 Handicap Chase over C&D as the first four – Forward Plan, Mister Coffey, Twoshotsoftequila and Whistleinthedark – as well as the sixth – Sail Away – renew rivalries.
Famous Bridge and Surrey Quest attempt to bring up hat-tricks and continue their upwards trajectories, Sweet Will makes the trip over from Ireland, while Kandoo Kid has yet to finish outside the top two over fences.
The latest Great Yorkshire Handicap Chase odds are on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise Timeform’s guide to the runners as well as betting tips from the racing boffins can be found below.
Great Yorkshire Handicap Chase verdict
Timeform: While several of these have appealing claims, FAMOUS BRIDGE is clearly going from strength-to-strength and he is taken to take another step up the ladder by bagging this prize. Nicky Richards’ charge may have most to fear from Forward Plan, who had a handful of these rivals behind when scoring over C&D last time and he remains on a feasible mark. The hat-trick seeking Surrey Quest and Irish-raider Sweet Will both enter calculations, while Erne River is also worthy of consideration.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
Great Yorkshire Handicap Chase runners and riders
The following horses have been declared for the Great Yorkshire Handicap Chase 2024.
Trainer: Donald McCain Jockey: Brian Hughes Age: 8 Weight: 12st
Quickly got his act together over fences last season and progressed again to complete a four-timer in 9-runner handicap chase at Aintree in December. However, well held in a valuable race at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and, though eased 2 lb since, he remains on a stiff-looking mark.
Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Tristan Durrell Age: 8 Weight: 11st 8lbs
Made it to the racecourse just twice last season, latterly running his rivals ragged in an 8-runner Ayr handicap (3m, good). Beaten fair and square in handicaps won by Kandoo Kid at Newbury and Forward Plan over this C&D last month, though, and he’s likely to find a few too strong once again.
Trainer: L J Morgan Jockey: K Brogan Age: 9 Weight: 11st 8lbs
Ended last season unbeaten over fences, easily winning 2½m Perth handicap on final start of that campaign. Struggled on return at Cheltenham, though, and while his subsequent fourth of 11 in the C&D handicap won by Forward Plan was more like it, he essentially looks vulnerable.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Daryl Jacob Age: 9 Weight: 11st 8lbs
Talented but rather frustrating type who remains a maiden following 11 starts in this sphere. However, the majority of his efforts over fences have been solid, not least when 1½ lengths second to Forward Plan over C&D last time, and should be in the mix if responding well to first-time cheekpieces.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Lorcan Williams Age: 8 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Bumper/hurdles winner in 2021 who made it third time lucky over fences at Newbury (19.8f, good to soft) in December. Runner-up in a Grade 2 novice at the same course next time and while his mark has suffered as a result (raised 5 lb), this step up in trip is an interesting move.
Trainer: Nicky Richards Jockey: Sean Quinlan Age: 8 Weight: 11st 5lbs
Likeable and progressive stayer who again found plenty for pressure when emerging on top in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock (25.6f, heavy). Couldn’t grumble with a 4 lb rise and he appears to be versatile ground-wise, so he has plenty going for him.
Trainer: Mel Rowley Jockey: Alex Edwards Age: 8 Weight: 11st 4lbs
Progressed last season, winning twice during the spring, and stepped up on low-key reappearance effort when going close at Ludlow in December. Respectable third at Kempton (3m, good to soft) since and worth a second look returned to a left-handed track.
Trainer: Chris Gordon Jockey: Freddie Gordon Age: 9 Wbeight: 11st 3lbs
Very capable chaser/hurdler on his day and latest success in a Newbury handicap hurdle last February was gained off a 2 lb higher mark. However, he’s not the most reliable on the whole and looks vulnerable back in this sphere.
Trainer: Nick Kent Jockey: Charlie Hammond Age: 9 Weight: 11st 3lbs
Returned to form when landing a 6-runner handicap chase in first-time cheekpieces over C&D last month, enhancing his good record here in the process. Remains on a good mark back up 3 lb and he could be a factor, provided the headgear works equally well second time round.
Trainer: Toby Lawes Jockey: Tom Cannon Age: 7 Weight: 11st 1lbs
Dual hurdles winner for Nicky Henderson and improved when opening chase account on return/debut for new yard at Huntingdon in October. Followed up on the back of a wind op at Newbury (3¼m, soft) and very much one to consider, for all that a 7 lb rise for his latest success asks a question.
Trainer: Stuart Coltherd Jockey: Sam Coltherd Age: 9 Weight: 10st 11lbs
Winner of this race off 3 lb lower mark last term and ended that campaign with an excellent second in the Scottish National at Ayr. However, he hasn’t shown much in 3 starts so far this season.
Trainer: Anthony Honeyball Jockey: Ben Godfrey Age: 8 Weight: 10st 9lbs
Took well to fences last season, winning twice around 3m at Southwell. Better than the bare result on return at Wincanton and subsequently produced a career-best when proving 1½ lengths too strong for Mister Coffey over C&D. 4 lb rise fair enough and he’s high on the shortlist.
Trainer: Gavin Cromwell Jockey: C Stone-Walsh Age: 7 Weight: 10st 8lbs
Off the mark over fences at Galway in October and improved again when adding to his tally in a big-field Cheltenham handicap (25f, soft) the following month. Struggled off a mark 2 lb lower than this at Ascot last time, though. Hood refitted.
Trainer: Christian Williams Jockey: Alan Johns Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs
Won 3 on the bounce over fences during 2021/22 campaign and, having missed the whole of last season, he has shown that plenty of ability remains since returning to action in October. Latest Kempton second was a solid effort and couldn’t rule out with the drying ground in his favour.
Trainer: Emmet Mullins Jockey: Donagh Meyler Age: 7 Weight: 10st 2lbs
Multiple hurdles winner last season, including at this course, and positive start for this yard when second in 9-runner handicap chase at Fairyhouse. Hampered by a faller at the final fence at Leopardstown next time and he’s one to consider.
Trainer: Dianne Sayer Jockey: Danny McMenamin Age: 8 Weight: 10st 2lbs
Dual 3m chase winner in 2022 but hasn’t shown much in 2 starts since returning from an absence of almost 14 months in November.
Trainer: Rebecca Menzies Jockey: Nathan Moscrop Age: 7 Weight: 10st 2lbs
Strong-travelling sort got off the mark over fences in 6-runner C&D handicap (good) last March. Knocking on the door this season, runner-up first 2 starts prior to finishing a creditable third to Forward Plan back here last time. Place possibilities.
Cap Du Nord
Trainer: Christian Williams Jockey: Jack Tudor Age: 11 Weight: 10st 2lbs
Grand servant to connections but out of sorts in recent months and yard saddles a more appealing candidate in Strictlyadancer.
Saturday’s Racing Tips
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- Mick Fitzgerald’s ITV Racing tips for Cheltenham & Doncaster on ITV
- Rory Delargy’s horse racing tips for Cheltenham & Doncaster on Saturday
- Matt Chapman’s ITV Racing tips for Cheltenham & Doncaster on ITV
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest horse racing tips
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