Ultima Handicap Chase Betting Odds & Preview – 2:50 Cheltenham 2022 – March 15th, 2022

A look at this year's Ultima Handicap Chase action for the Cheltenham Festival 2022

Ryan Mania / Ultima Handicap ©IMAGO / Shutterstock 03/16/2021

The third race of the Cheltenham Festival Day 1 action is the Ultima Handicap Chase and on this page, we will be taking a look at some of the history of the race as well as some horse racing betting for this year’s renewal.

The Ultima, which is also known as the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase, is generally a very strong competitive race. In our guide to Ultima Handicap Chase betting 2022, we will look at some of the key trends of the fixture as well as those currently leading the market.

This Grade 3 fixture has some ante-post Cheltenham Festival betting odds to look over. The final declarations will paint a clearer picture of the Ultima Handicap Chase betting market when they land.

Ultima Handicap Chase Details

Date: 15th March 2022
Time: 2:50 pm
Grade: Grade 3
Distance: 3m 1f
Age: 5 year olds plus
Entries: n/a

Ultima Handicap Chase Favourites and Outsiders

The Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival can be a wide-open affair, and it is a fascinating test of stamina on the 3m 1f trip around the Old Course.

It’s one of those Festival features where there are some longer priced horse racing betting options to be had, even on those towards the head of the market.

While there has only been one winning favourite in the last ten editions of the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase, the trend has been to lend towards those stronger options who are being well-backed in the fixture.

Last year’s race favourite Happy Go Lucky came home in second place.

He was beaten out by a longer-priced outsider in Vintage Clouds, as the 11-year-old defied some huge age trends in the Ultima Handicap Chase to land the score. So there are those outsiders who rise to the occasion.

Ultima Handicap betting odds, therefore, does mean that we don’t only just look at the key contenders in the field, but also for some of them which could have some each-way interest as well. Two of the last ten winners of the Ultima Handicap Chase have been by at least 28/1 SP winners.

Ultima Handicap Chase Odds Cheltenham 2022

While we can take a look at the ante-post Ultima Handicap Chase odds for 2022, the market will likely take on a different complexion closer to the start of the Festival. When the final declarations for the Ultima Handicap Chase, which happens 48 hours out, are in, punters will know exactly who is going to the start and that will shape the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase betting odds.

For now, here is a list of current Ultima Handicap Chase odds taken at the time of writing.

Shan Blue 7/1
Does He Know 7/1
Escaria Ten 10/1
Imperial Alcazar 10/1
Aye RIght 12/1
Fury Road 12/1
Phoenix Way 12/1
Death Dut 12/1
Corach Rambler 14/1
Ben Dundee 14/1
Silver Hallmark 14/1
Ask Me Early 14/1
Discorama 16/1
Dusart 16/1
Augusta Gold 16/1
Coko Beach 16/1
Enjoy D’allen 16/1
Sounds Russian 16/1
Midnight River 16/1
Ashtown Lad 16/1
School Boy Horse 16/1
20/1 bar
* (odds recorded at 19:12 GMT on February 28th, 2022 at Unibet)

Bet at Unibet

About the Ultima Handicap Chase

The Ultima Handicap Chase is called that simply because of sponsorship as it has been backed by Ultima since 2015.

The official race name is the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase which has a place on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival each year.

Way back when it was called the National Hunt Handicap and it is a Grade 3 handicap contest on the Old Course.

Despite being a massive test of stamina, and usually, horses who have either been to or are heading to, the Grand National line up in the contest, it’s often run at a fair clip.

It’s a good competitive feature race therefore and among the horses to have won both the National and the Festival Trophy are Royal Tan, West Tip and Seagram.

Ultima Handicap Chase contenders – 15th March 2022

There is going to be a big field heading to the start of the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham 2022, so the market is still a little muddy at the ante-post stage. However, some names have crept to the fore.

SHAN BLUE is one of those as he is the current 7/1 joint-favourite* (odds recorded at 19:12 GMT on February 28th, 2022 at Unibet). He was in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at last year’s Festival in which he took a fifth-place finish.

He is likely going straight to the Festival on the back of a long break, his last run happening at the end of October when he fell at Wetherby. Chantry House has been a thorn in his side recently, but won’t be up against that particular rival.

DOES HE KNOW is the other joint-favourite in Ultima Handicap Chase betting at the moment. The Kim Bailey-trained 7-year-old does bring some solid form to the table in this one having won at Ascot in February.

That was in a Grade 2 novices’ chase and Does He Know smashed the field by 14 lengths. He is entitled to come further for that. At last year’s Festival, he was fifth in the Ballymore and has won three of five previous trips to Cheltenham so has course history.

ESCARIA TEN may go to the Grand National instead, but if he shows up at Cheltenham then he could have a say in this. He was third in the longer Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase last year.

IMPERIAL ALCAZAR claimed a win at Cheltenham in late January and remains in some very good form ahead of the Festival. He’s lightly raced in the sphere but has picked up some credible form in the last few months.

AYE RIGHT was third in last year’s Ultima behind winner Vintage Clouds, a distance 8l back of the winner.

But he had a nice workout at Cheltenham in late January as a Festival primer and has since moved yard.

Ultima Handicap Chase Trends Cheltenham 2022

For the next part of this Arkle Betting Preview 2022, we are going to dive into some of the trends surrounding the Cheltenham Day 1 racer. To do that, we cast an eye back over the last 20 editions of this Grade 1 fixture.

Ultima Handicap Chase Trainer Statistics

Jonjo O’Neill and David Pop are the joint-most successful trainers in the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase in the last 20 editions. They have each won in three times, with Pipe having a better strike rate.

The only other trainer to have won the Ultima more than once in the last 20 renewals of the fixture has been Alan King with a couple of scores.

Top trainers who haven’t scored in the last 20 editions, despite having had more than 20 runners each are Nigel Twiston-Davies, Venetia Williams, Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs.

Ultima Handicap Chase Jockey Statistics

Tom Scudamore is the leading jockey in the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase in the last two decades with three victories. Those came from fifteen runners and two of those wins for the jockey have come inside the last six editions, both on Un Temps Pour Tour in 2016 and 2017. Richie McLernon and Brendan Powell are the only other two jockeys in that span to have won it more than once.

Other Key Ultima Handicap Chase Trends

Vintage Clouds won last year’s renewal as an 11-year-old. That was an anomaly as far as age-trends for Ultima racing betting goes. 18 of the last 20 winners have been between 7-10 year old.

Each of the last 20 winners had won at a distance of at least 2m 5 1/2 furlong before and had made between 3-10 starts over the last year.

The last 20 Ultima winners had carded between 2 -7 stars in the preceding 180 days and all but one had claimed fewer than 6 wins over the fences.

The Festival Trophy Handicap Chase at Cheltenham has also been dominated by home-based horses. 16 of the last 20 winners have been British horses, with two from Ireland and two from France in that sequence.

Ultima Handicap Chase 2021 Review

Vintage Clouds just wouldn’t give it up last year in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival. He was always hustling near the front and did get his nose in front at a couple of points in the fixture.

It wasn’t until the last that he started pulling away from the race favourite Happy Go Lucky. Vintage Clouds was 1 length up at the last and was just readily ridden clear from there. He was helped out by his rival not being fluent at the last and drifting left.

11-year-old Vintage Clouds, ridden by Ryan Mania for trainer Sue Smith took the win by 5 1/2 lengths. Aye Right battled gamely for the third place but was never a match of the front two.

Cheltenham Festival 2022 Day 1


Day 1 Cheltenham Festival Ultima Handicap Chases 2022

  • 13:30 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Ultima Handicap Chase
  • 14:10 The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
  • 14:50 The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
  • 15:30 The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
  • 16:10 The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Ultima Handicap Chase
  • 16:50 The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Ultima Handicap Chase
  • 17:30 The National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’ Steeple Chase


Bet at Unibet

Ultima Handicap Chase Former Winners

Year Winner Odds Jockey Trainer
2021 Vintage Clouds 28/1 Ryan Mania Sue Smith
2020 The Conditional 15/2 Brendan Powell David Bridgwater
2019 Beware The Bear 10/1 Jeremiah McGrath Nicky Henderson
2018 Coo Star Sivola 5/1F Lizzie Kelly Nick Williams
2017 Un Temps Pour Tout 9/1 Tom Scudamore David Pipe
2016 Un Temps Pour Tout 11/1 Tom Scudamore David Pipe
2015 The Druids Nephew 8/1 Barry Geraghty Neil Mulholland
2014 Holywell 10/1 Richie McLernon Jonjo O’Neill
2013 Golden Chieftain 28/1 Brendan Powell Colin Tizzard
2012 Alfie Sherrin 14/1 Richie McLernon Jonjo O’Neill

Ultima Handicap Chase Betting Offers

Bookmaker Unibet is Best Odds Guaranteed for all UK & IRE horse races. That means that if your selection wins at a larger SP than your price taken on that runner, then the bookmaker will pay you at bigger odds.

So for example, if you had made a bet at 6/1 and they won the race at 8/1, you get paid at the 8/1 odds thanks to the Unibet BOG.

Best Odds Guaranteed offer is available daily from 8 am on the day of the race on all UK and Ireland horse racing bets. It applies to single and multiple bets. The offer is not available on ante-post, non-runner no bet, tote/ pari-mutuel (bets and dividends), not to win, enhanced win, cover bets and in-play bets.

Key T&Cs: Offer applies to customers located in the UK, Ireland, and Belgium only. Best Odds Guaranteed offer is available daily from 8 am on the day of the race on all UK and Ireland horse racing bets. It applies to single and multiple bets. The offer is not available on ante-post, non-runner no bet, tote/ pari-mutuel (bets and dividends), not to win, enhanced win, cover bets and in-play bets. Bets placed using a free balance do not qualify for Best Odds Guaranteed.

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