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, but in 2018 he went one better after landing both the Denman Chase and the Cheltenham 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.
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 10 times - including again in 2021 when his Secret Investor won for jockey Bryony Frost. While if you like your trends it’s worth noting that 7 of the last 14 winners of the Denman Chase were aged 7 years-old.
Here at TQ, we look back at recent winners of the race and highlights the key stats ahead of the 2022 renewal – this year staged on Saturday 12th February.
Recent Denman Chase Winners
2021 - Secret Investor (14/1)
2020 – Native River (2/5 fav)
2019 – Clan Des Obeaux (2/5 fav)
2018 – Native River (8/11)
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
16/18 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
15/18 – Had won at least 4 times over fences (UK) before
15/18 – Rated 150+
14/18 – Placed favourites
13/18 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
13/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
12/18 – Aged 8 or younger
11/18 – Winners that went onto race in that season’s Gold Cup (4 winners)
11/18 – Had won over fences at Newbury before
10/18 – Raced at either Cheltenham or Kempton last time out
8/18 – Won last time out
8/18 – Winning favourites
8/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls (10 wins in total)
7/18 – Irish bred
6/18 – French bred
6/18 – Winning distance – ¾ length or less
4/18 – Winners that went onto win the Gold Cup (Coneygree, Denman, Kauto Star & Native River)
4/18 – Returned a double-figure price
3/18 – Trained by Colin Tizzard
2/18 – Won by the Pipe stable
7 of the last 15 winners were aged 7 years-old
The average SP in the last 15 runnings is 7/2
TQ VERDICT: Former Cheltenham Festival winner Imperial Aura would certainly have the ability to go well here but hasn’t really progressed as well as his connections would have liked. He’s now unseated, Pulled Up (twice) and fallen in his last four runs - a fair bit to prove. Royale Pagaille got back to winning ways at his beloved Haydock last month in the Peter Marsh Chase, but you just worry if the ground is soft enough for this mud lover. If the rain comes, then his chance will increase bundles, but regardless still has 6lbs to find with the Paul Nicholls-trained and 2019 winner of this race - CLAN DES OBEAUX. This 10 year-old is still holing his form well at the top table staying chase races and was most recently runner-up on Boxing Day in the King George. He can also be expected to have improved for that run as it came off a break, while trip, track and ground are all ideal. He’s taken to give Nicholls his eleventh success in this race. Eldorado Allen and De Rasher Counter make up the five runners.