Staged at Newbury racecourse the Betfair-sponsored Denman Chase is a Grade Two race that is run in February each year.
First run in 2000, the Denman Chase is always a hotly-contested race that is run over a trip of 3 miles, and over the years has provided plenty of clues ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Four horses have won this race before going onto land the Cheltenham Gold Cup that same season – Kauto Star (2007), Denman (2008), Coneygree (2015) & Native River (2018).
In 2017 – Native River won the Denman Chase before running third in the Gold Cup.
The race was upgraded to Listed status in 2002 and then promoted further in 2003 to a Grade Two – which it remains at today.
Did You Know? 12 of the last 16 Denman Chase winners were aged 8 or younger?
The contest was originally sponsored by the Aon Group, but in 2012 leading betting exchange – Betfair – took over the sponsorship mantle, and in the process also renamed the race the ‘Denman Chase’ in honour of the 2008 winner.
Since 2000 leading National Hunt trainer – Paul Nicholls – has won the race 9 times, while if you like your trends it’s worth noting that 7 of the last 13 winners of the Denman Chase were aged 7 years-old - backed up again in 2019 with the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux winning as a 7 year-old.
Here at TQ we look back at recent winners of the race and highlights the key stats ahead of the 2020 renewal – this year staged on Saturday 8th February.
Recent Denman Chase Winners
2019 - CALN DES OBEAUX (2/5 fav)
2018 - Native River (8/11 fav)
2017 – Native River (11/10)
2016 - Houblon des Obeaux (3/1)
2015 – Coneygree (15/8 fav)
2014 – Harry Topper (7/2)
2013 – Silviniaco Conti (8/11 fav)
2012 – Long Run (4/7 fav)
2011 – Noland (13/2)
2010 – Tricky Trickster (8/1)
2009 – Madison du Berlais (12/1)
2008 – Denman (1/4 fav)
2007 – Kauto Star (2/9 fav)
Denman Chase Trends
14/16 – Had won at least 4 times over fences (UK) before
14/16 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
13/16 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
13/16 – Rated 150+
12/16 – Placed favourites
12/16 – Aged 8 or younger
12/16 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
11/16 – Winners that went onto race in that season’s Gold Cup (4 winners)
10/16 – Raced at either Cheltenham (4) or Kempton (4) last time out
10/16 – Had won over fences at Newbury before
7/16 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
7/16 – Won last time out
7/16 – Winning favourites
6/16 – Irish bred
6/16 – French bred
5/16 – Winning distance – ¾ length or less
4/16 – Winners that went onto win the Gold Cup (Coneygree, Denman, Kauto Star & Native River)
3/16 – Returned a double-figure price
3/16 – Ridden by Richard Johnson
2/16 – Won by the Pipe stable
7 of the last 13 winners were aged 7 years-old
The average SP in the last 13 runnings is 3/1
Note: The 2019 runnings was staged at Ascot
It's a shame this Grade Two will lack a few more staying chasers from the top-draw but really it will be a surprise if the 2017 and 2018 hero of this contest – NATIVE RIVER – isn’t adding a third Denman Chase to his CV. This Colin Tizzard-trained 10 year-old is around 14/1 for the Gold Cup next March and an easy win here could see those odds firm up a tad, but not much. He’s the clear top-rated in the field but despite having to give 3lbs and 6lbs to some of the others is still very much the one to beat. He returned to the track back in December with a very easy win at Aintree in the Many Clouds Chase so clearly retains his top-class ability and we know this track will suit having won here 4 times and remaining unbeaten at the Berkshire venue over fences. He’s only finished out of the top three once from his 17 runs over fences and that came with a fair fourth in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Of the rest, Native River’s old rival – Might Bite – could also line-up but since that famous 2018 Gold Cup duel the Henderson horse has never looked the same and his last five runs have all been very average – failing to even complete in three of them. Of course, his old form would make him a big player – especially getting 6lbs from Native River – but he’s got a lot of questions surrounding his name and at the age of 11 years-old he just might not be able to answer his critics. For me, the Nicholls-trained Secret Investor can do best of the rest.