Marsh Novices’ Chase Tips, Betting Offers and Odds

Marsh Novices’ Chase: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds

A 2011 addition to Cheltenham’s big show was the Golden Miller Novices’ Chase. Now called the Marsh Novices’ Chase (and previously known as the JLT Novices’ Chase) for sponsorship reasons, it’s always a cracking race that is not to be missed. Here we look at some of the best odds and offers available for this top class novice chase, and provide our betting tips for the race.

Held as the opening contest on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival, this Grade 1, 2m4f contest for novice chasers is restricted to runners aged five and older. 17 fences around the New Course lie between the contenders and £130,000 in total prize money.

Marsh Novices’ Chase Tips and 2020 Race Preview

As a group, horse racing fans are quick to take a horse to their hearts. The joy of the sport is seeing horses mature into top quality performers and occasionally, recovering from hardships to complete great comeback stories.

Faugheen is a great case in point. The 12-year-old is nothing short of a National Hunt legend having navigated all sorts of different peaks and troughs over the course of his career. The news that he has been declared for the Marsh Novices’ Chase went down incredibly well with racing fans and he will get a lot of support at 6/1 with Paddy Power.

It will take a very good performance to get the better of Itchy Feet though. Olly Murphy has been banging the drum about his six-year-old’s chances of winning for some time and punters have started taking note as he’s been backed into worthy favouritism at 4/1 with bet365.

Previous Winners

  • 2019 – Defi Du Seuil – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Philip Hobbs
  • 2018 – Shattered Love – jockey Jack Kennedy, trainer Gordon Elliott
  • 2017 – Yorkhill – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 2016 – Black Hercules – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 2015 – Vautour – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 2014 – Taquin du Seuil – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
  • 2013 – Benefficient – jockey Bryan Cooper, trainer Tony Martin
  • 2012 – Sir Des Champs – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 2011 – Noble Prince – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Paul Nolan

Marsh Novices’ Chase Trends

It hasn’t taken the bookies long to get to grips with the now-named March Novices’ Chase. The race was only introduced to the Cheltenham Festival in 2011 but already winners from outside of the top three in the betting are something of a rarity. Moreover, three favourites obliged punters in the first eight editions of this Grade 1 chase so punters should certainly start their search for a winner at the top of the market.

There are many reasons why the market is such a good guide for the Marsh Novices’ Chase. The first is that previous winning form over fences is an important indicator of success. Seven of those first eight winners had won at least two times since switching from hurdles to the bigger obstacles whilst it’s rare for horse to win having not made a minimum of seven starts over fences.

Take Heed of Official Ratings

The official ratings are also a good guide. Shattered Love became the lowest rated winner of the Marsh’s young history in 2018 when winning off a mark of 144. She had already shown an aptitude for chasing though and was well supported when sent off as the second favourite.

It’s not just the bookies who got a strong early grip on the Marsh. Irish trainers wasted no time in asserting their dominance with seven wins from the first eight races. Willie Mullins accounted for four of those successes and partnered up with Ruby Walsh on three of them.

It takes a fair amount of stamina for these up and coming chasers to win over the 2m4f trip of the Marsh Novices’ Chase. Therefore, it is important to only back horses who have already scored over two and a half miles preferably over fences but hurdling form should not be discounted when examining stamina.

Marsh Novices’ Chase History

This race is one of the newest races to be added to the Cheltenham Festival offering, having first been added to proceedings in 2011. The race provides a festival option for the specialist 2m4f Novice Chasers in training.

This event is officially registered as The Golden Miller Novices’ Chase in honour of one of the most successful horses to ever appear at the festival. Up until the sixth consecutive win posted by Quevega in the 2014 edition of the Mares’ Hurdle, no horse had won the same festival race more than Golden Miller. That the race he won on five occasions was the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself, makes his achievement all the more remarkable. The Basil Briscoe trained bay further cemented his legendary status in 1934 when becoming the only horse to win both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season.

Initially introduced as a Grade 2 contest, the race proved sufficiently high in quality that it was raised to Grade 1 level from its 2014 edition. 2014 also marked the year the race was first sponsored by insurance company JLT having previously been backed by Jewson. The status of the race was further enhanced in 2016 when it featured amongst the contests receiving a prize money boost from Cheltenham racecourse. An extra £10,000 was added to the coffers boosting the total on offer to £130,000. From 2020 the race was sponsored by a company named Marsh.

The jockey to have ridden more jumps winners than any other in history was quick out of the blocks in this contest. Tony McCoy, now Sir A P McCoy, took the inaugural edition with Noble Prince before winning again in 2014 with Taquin du Seuil.

Trainer Willie Mullins wasn’t far behind McCoy, saddling Sir Des Champs to victory in 2012 and Vautour as part of his record breaking haul of winners in 2015. Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh teamed up for success in 2016 again in this race with Black Hercules.

Sir Des Champs went on to prove his quality when finishing second in the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup as well as winning the Hennessy Gold Cup and Punchestown Gold Cup.

It is Vautour though who was perhaps the most impressive of the early winners here. His 2015 performance was for many the standout display in a week filled with breath-taking performances. Jumping flawlessly throughout, he routed a good field by 15 lengths.

Not many five year olds were deemed ready to tackle this contest in its early days. Only three such horses went to post in the first five editions and all failed to place.

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh combined successfully in 2016 and 2017 with Black Hercules and Yorkhill taking the respective wins. Mullins now has four victories with Walsh having ridden three. Gordon Elliott trained his first winner of this one with Shattered Love in 2018 with Jack Kennedy in the saddle.