Wednesday 8 February 2023

Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase is a Grade 1 steeplechase run over 3 miles and 80 yards on the Old Course at Cheltenham in March. Open to horses aged five years and upwards, it is one of three Grade 1 novice steeplechases run at the Cheltenham Festival – the others being the Arkle Challenge Trophy and the Turners Novices' Chase – and the most prestigious novice steeplechase of the season in the staying division.

Inaugurated, as the Broadway Novices' Chase, in 1946, the race has been run under various titles, including the Totalisator Champion Novices' Chase and the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase, for sponsorship purposes since 1964. Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable was announced as the new sponsor in 2021, having previously sponsored the Festival Plate, a Grade 3 handicap steeplechase run over 2 miles 4 furlongs and 127 yards on the New Course at Cheltenham, since 2015.

The Brown Advisory Novices' Chase is often described, justifiably, as the novices' equivalent of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and its roll of honour reads like a 'Who's Who' of staying steeplechasers since World War II. The likes of Mandarin, Arkle, Ten Up, Master Smudge, Garrison Savannah, Looks Like Trouble, Denman, Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere all returned to the Cheltenham Festival to win the 'Blue Riband' event, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in subsequent years.

Somewhat ironically, Willie Mullins, who did not win the Cheltenham Gold Cup until 2019, having previously saddled the runner-up six times, is the leading trainer in the history of the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. Mullins has already enjoyed success with Florida Pearl (1998), Rule Supreme (2004), Cooldine (2009), Don Poli (2015) and Monkfish (2021) and looks to hold a very strong hand once again in 2023, if the ante-post betting market is to be believed. Obviously, the 2023 renewal of the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase – scheduled for 2.10pm on Wednesday, March 15 – is several months away, but The Nice Guy, a ready 5-length winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle in 2022, sets a very high standard.

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