Grand Annual Chase Tips: Lisp to strike for King

A competitive field line up for the Grand Annual on Friday afternoon.
A competitive field line up for the Grand Annual on Friday afternoon.

Jack Cousin preview's Friday's hugely-competitive Grand Annual and picks out his best bet for the penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival...

The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase is the penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival, and is the oldest race at the four-day meeting. It is run on the new course, and they jump 14 fences over a trip of two miles and half a furlong.

This regularly proves to be a competitive heat, and the current market leader is the Paul Nicholls-trained Greaneteen. The six-year-old is three from three over fences so far, completing a hat-trick in good style at Fakenham last time out. A strong traveller, there could be plenty more to come off a mark of 150, but this looks his toughest test to date and this race often goes to more battle-hardened sorts.

Lisp has also run just the three times so far over fences, and represents the Alan King yard. He was keen and made mistakes behind Torpillo and Mister Fisher on his chasing debut at Warwick, but made amends when winning at a canter when long odds-on next time out. He qualified for this race after finishing a fine third behind Mister Fisher and Al Dancer at Doncaster, and he looks to have strong claims here. Indeed, Lisp has experience of running in big-field handicaps over hurdles, having finished second of 21 in the Betfair Exchange Trophy and fifth of 24 in the County Hurdle at the Festival last year. Those runs suggest he’s equipped to deal with the trials and tribulations of a contest such as this, and he has leading claims.

The last three Grand Annual winners - Croco Bay (2019), Le Prezien (2018) and Rock The World (2017) - had all been beaten in a previous renewal of the contest, and there are currently seven horses entered who contested the race last year. Croco Bay caused a massive upset when striking in this race last year, winning at 66/1 as a 12-year-old. He arrives here having run a perfectly good race when second behind Western Miller last time out, but he is another year older and 5 lb higher in the weights this year. 

Bun Doran and Brelan D’As finished second and third in the race last year, but look set to race in the Champion Chase and the Brown Advisory Plate, respectively, while last year's fifth Not Another Muddle hasn’t been seen since due to his planned reappearance at Newbury being abandoned. He had run very well fresh in the past, though, and has to be considered if taking his chance here.

Marracudja (eighth), Caid Du Lin (13th) and Gino Trail (PU) are three others who remain entered who ran in the race last year. Gino Trail is the one who makes most appeal from that trio, having made a winning start for Fergal O’Brien last time out. He’s 1 lb lower than when second in this race in 2018, so is handicapped to be competitive, though this will be a big as as a 13-year-old. Theinval didn’t run in the race last year but finished third in 2017 and fourth in 2018, and runs off the same mark of 141. He’s been out of form for a while now but should be monitored in the market as trainer Nicky Henderson routinely targets this race - with it being named after his father.

Two Irish entered horses in Éclair De Beaufeu and Paloma Blue ran against each other last time out, with the former coming out on top by two-and-a-half lengths. The winner was a good second behind the now 158-rated Notebook on his seasonal reappearance, the form of which made him look potentially well handicapped off 140. Paloma Blue would have perhaps finished close the last day if he wasn’t hampered at the final fence. Both are respected off 9 lb and 5 lb higher marks, respectively.

A stablemate of Éclair De Beaufeu is Chosen Mate, who also arrives in form having bolted up at Gowran Park last time out. A Grade 2 winner over hurdles, he was outclassed by the likes of Melon and Annamix on his first two starts over fences, but clearly appreciated being ridden more prominently when winning at Gowran Park last time out. He must back that performance up now in deeper waters, however. 

Meanwhile, Capeland was impressive at Ascot back in November for the Paul Nicholls team. He’s been held twice since though in strong graded races, including when behind Defi Du Seuil last time out. He'll face a stiff task here off a mark of 153, and the stable’s main hope is Greaneteen. Another to consider is Great Field, who is an interesting runner on his debut for Jonjo O’Neil. He was a Grade 1 winner back in 2017 ,but has failed to complete in four of his last five starts - which is a major concern. He’ll be dropping back into handicap company for this, which is a positive, but he nevertheless has enough to prove.

On The Slopes, Jan Maat and Adrratos all arrive on the back of a win when last seen. The former isn’t certain to get into this contest rated just 136, but won impressively last time out and if he could be popular in the betting if sneaking in. Meanwhile, neither Jan Maat not Adrratos look to have an awful lot in hand off their current marks, and the latter would need decent ground. As such, it looks worth siding with Lisp to take this. 

Selection

Grand Annual, Cheltenham Festival, Friday 13th March 2020 – back Lisp each-way at 7/1 

Grand Annual
Lisp silk

Lisp (EW)

lost

He’s been well found in the market, but Lisp still makes significant each-way appeal at 7/1. His big field handicap form over hurdles should serve him well in a contest such as this. His run at Doncaster behind Mister Fisher and Al Dancer is a solid level of form, and he’s without a doubt well handicapped off 144. His trainer Alan King has also won this contest with a novice before, back in 2009 with Oh Crick, so everything points to a big run.  

The Cheltenham Festival
Advert Disclaimer
Horseracing.net is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that Horseracing.net accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.

100% Up To £50 Welcome Bonus + 25 Spins

#AD 18+ begambleaware.org; New bettors get 100% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; Free spins validity: 7 days; Free spins max. winnings = £100; See full terms; Terms apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets
#AD 18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake,  min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after  settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after  the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets (APP Only)
#AD New UK, IE & Malta customers only. 18+. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Trustly. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Welcome Offer
#AD Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £60 in Bonuses
#AD New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £20 & Get It Back As CASH If It Loses
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Horse Racing market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Money Back As Cash Up To £20
#AD Max £20 refund on first bet. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. Only deposits made via Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
#AD Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets
#AD Offer includes a free £1 Race Index spread bet to try out our exciting 50-25-10 race markets. Place a £10 fixed odds bet at minimum odds of 1/2. Get 2 x £10 free fixed odds bets + 2 x £5 free Winning Favourites spread bets. Bet with live streaming on all racing and greyhounds! Ts&Cs Apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD Min stake £10. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). First bet only. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. Online UK customers only. 30 days to qualify for £20 in Free Bets. 18+. T&Cs apply
£25 Free Bet + 10 Free Spins
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £25 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free Spins on Asgard Warriors. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
Latest racing results
Wolverhampton
20:30
1stCurley Rose
2ndMidnight Train
3rdDonna Italiana
Wolverhampton
20:00
1stKenilworth King
2ndDiamond Jill
3rdPeripeteia
Wolverhampton
19:30
1stStrike Red
2ndZero Carbon
3rdEmperor Spirit
View All Today's Results