Thursday 5 January 2023

Turners Novices' Chase


The Turners Novices' Chase is a Grade 1 novices' steeplechase run over 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 168 yards on the New Course at Cheltenham in March. Open to horses aged five years and upwards, the race is currently scheduled as the first race on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival. It is, in fact, one of three Grade 1 novices' steeplechases staged at the Festival, but the only one run on the New Course, which places more emphasis on stamina than the Old Course.

The Turners Novices Chase is officially registered as the Golden Miller Novices' Chase but, since its inception, in 2011, has been run under several different titles for sponsorship purposes. Originally known as the Jewson Novices' Chase, the race was elevated from Grade 2 to Grade 1 status in 2014, at which point it was renamed the JLT Novices Chase to reflect the new sponsors,

Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT). Marsh & McLennan acquired JLT in 2019, resulting in another name change, to the Marsh Novices' Chase, the following year. Turners took over sponsorship in 2022.

The intermediate distance of the Turners Novices' Chase is ideal for novices' who lack the speed required for the Arkle Challenge Trophy, over 2 miles, and/or the stamina required for the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase, over 3 miles. In its relatively short history, Willie Mullins has won the race four times, courtesy of Sir Des Champs (2012), Vautour (2015), Black Hercules (2016) and Yorkhill (2017) and is the leading trainer in its history.

Willie Mullins also has plenty of live contenders for the 2023 renewal, including the current ante-post favourite, Sir Gerhard, Appreciate It and El Fabiolo. It will be interesting to see how the pecking order in the division develops by the time 1.30pm on Thursday, March 17 rolls around.

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