The second of three Grade One races on Champion Chase day at Cheltenham is the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase. This three-mile chase has produced several future Gold Cup winners in the past. However, this year's renewal looks far from vintage and there are several who hold appeal in this wide-open betting heat.
Brown Advisory Novices' Chase 2023 Odds
Following his Grade One triumph at Leopardstown over Christmas, Gaillard Du Mesnil
heads the ante-post market. The full betting and entries for the 2023 Brown Advisory
can be found here on our website...
At the start of the season, all the talk said that Wille Mullins had lined his star up for a tilt at the National Hunt Chase, where his son, Patrick would take the ride. Despite that victory at the highest level over Christmas, Gaillard Du Mesnil remains a much, much shorter price for the National Hunt than he does for this race, so it seems like a run in that Grade Two remains very much "Plan A".
Gerri Colombe is a classy chaser, but his best chance of winning would be on bottomless ground, like it was on this day 12 months ago, when an unexpectedly biblical downpour changed the going from good to heavy in the space of 12 hours. James Du Berlais also sits prominently in the betting for the Turners. If things don't quite go to plan at the Dublin Racing Festival, Willie Mullins could step his seven-year-old up to three miles at the Cheltenham Festival, but I'd say the two-and-a-half miler remains his primary Cheltenham target.
The Real Whacker
sits prominently in the market, following two victories at round this course. Patrick Neville thought highly enough of his novice to hand him a Gold Cup
entry, but I don't think The Real Whacker is by any means bombproof. Thyme Hill
is no better over fences than he was over hurdles and I'd rather side with a younger, improving gelding over Philip Hobbs' nine-year-old.
Brown Advisory Novices' Chase 2023 Tip 1 - Gentlemansgame
Sitting near the head of that list of younger, improving horses is GENTLEMANSGAME. Mouse Morris' grey ended last season in excellent form over hurdles, bolting up over three miles at Thurles in March, before an excellent third behind Klassical Dream and Ashdale Bob at Punchestown, where Rachael Blackmore's mount was only beaten four lengths having attempted to make the running.
Morris then sent Gentlemansgame straight to the Leopardstown Christmas Festival for his first start over fences - an unusually ambitious move for a typically cautious trainer. I Am Maximus was all the rage in the betting, but it was Gentlemansgame who produced the better jumping display, striding eight-lengths clear of his market rival after an excellent jump at the last.
This huge, strapping son of Gentlewave was always going to improve for fences and did well to reach an excellent rating of 150 over the smaller obstacles. Gentlemansgame will now either head to the 2m5f Grade One at the Dublin Racing Festival
, or step up to three miles for a Grade Three at Naas this coming Sunday. Good performances in either race would see the 16/1 currently available about Gentlemansgame shorten significantly.
Brown Advisory Novices' Chase 2023 Tip 2 - Loughderg Rocco
Of the British contenders, the one who really captures my imagination is Laura Morgan's LOUGHDERG ROCCO. A 12-length winner of an Irish point-to-point in 2021, Morgan ran her recruit four times over hurdles last season, with Adam Wedge's mount claiming his sole victory in a Class 4 contest at Musselburgh in March.
Loughderg Rocco made his chasing debut at Wetherby in October, in what turned out to be a match-race between himself and Paul Nicholls' Gelino Bello. Despite a 27-pound disparity between the two in hurdles rating, Loughderg Rocco proved a worthy adversary for Gelino Bello, and the favourite only edged half-a-length ahead of his rival in the strides leading up to the line.
Morgan's charge then came up against another odds-on favourite in Unexpected Party on his second chase start around Leicester. This time, Loughdergh Rocco was more than a match for his highly-rated rival, jumping Unexpected Party into submission before putting 12 lengths between himself and the odds-on favourite on the run to the line.
Even off this boosted chase mark of 142, Loughderg Rocco has plenty to find on the Irish horses near the head of the betting. Yet, this talented seven-year-old has clearly improved massively for the switch to fences and, if the ground on day two at the Cheltenham Festival
came up favourably good, I wouldn't be surprised if Loughderg Rocco produced a huge performance in what looks an extremely open contest.