Turners Novices’ Chase Tips: Keep the faith in Facile Vega

 | March 13 | 

4 mins read

Turners Novices Tips

The opening gambit on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival is the Turners Novices' Chase - a Grade 1 contest over two-and-a-half-miles that has been won by the likes of Vautour, Yorkhill, Samcro, Chantry House and most recently Stage Star for Paul Nicholls in 2023.

This year's renewal looks particularly competitive and the British have a strong hand in it again, but it's two Irish runners that form our Turners Novices' Chase tips. 

Turners Novices' Chase Tips

  • Facile Vega @ 5/2
  • Zanahiyr e/w @ 16/1

Colonel Harry (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan)

Perhaps fortunate to win the Grade 2 Towton at Wetherby in January as Trelawne threw it away in front and has since been beaten by 29 lengths in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles at Sandown over this trip on testing ground.

Djelo (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch)

Was 3-3 over fences prior to being badly hampered and coming down at the first in a Lingfield Grade 2 in January. Got back on track to a degree when second since in the Scilly Isles at Sandown, performing best of the rest as Nickle Back got loose in front and then never saw a rival. Could have more to give and testing ground no worry.

Facile Vega (Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)

Champion Bumper winner in 2022 and second in the Supreme Novices' last time, his record here is promising. Excellent start over fences at Naas (2m1f, soft to heavy) in November and two sound runs since in Grade 1s at Leopardstown. Could be hard to stop back here if this trip is within his range.

Ginny's Destiny (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden)

Needed the run on stable/chasing bow over C&D in October after a layoff but is 3-3 at this course over this sort of trip since, rising 22lb in the handicap in doing so. Deserves his crack in this company now and jumping has been a real asset. Trainer/jockey won this last year.

Grey Dawning (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton)

Just touched off by Ginny's Destiny in a handicap here in December before powering clear to win the Grade 2 Hampton Novices' Chase at Warwick (3m, soft) in January from Apple Away and Broadway Boy. Has plenty in his favour back down in trip but needs to brush up on his jumping.

Iroko (Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero/Jonjo O'Neill Jr)

Won the Martin Pipe over hurdles here last season and the commanding winner of a Warwick novices' chase (2m4f, soft) in November, scarcely coming off the bridle. Talented sort with a bright future but lack of fencing experience a minor worry.

Le Patron (Gary Moore/David Noonan)

Progressed fast to win first three outings over fences, culminating in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown (2m, heavy) in December with Colonel Harry in second. Mistakes were a factor when disappointing back there in last month's Scilly Isles over this trip.

Letsbeclearaboutit (Gavin Cromwell/Keith Donoghue)

Winner of his first two over fences including a Grade 3 at Cork in November. Solid efforts in all three starts since, the latest when attempting 3m1f at Naas in January. Ran well in the Albert Bartlett here last season and will relish this if stamina becomes key.

Sharjah (Willie Mullins/Patrick Mullins)

Likeable veteran known for his exploits around Leopardstown over Christmas, winning the same 2m Grade 1 hurdle for four years running and twice second in the Champion Hurdle here. He is 2-5 since belatedly going chasing and held his own behind some classy, younger two-milers the last twice in Grade 1s.

Zanahiyr (Gordon Elliott/Jack Kennedy)

Smart hurdler that clashed with a galaxy of stars over a variety of trips and won 5-20 starts, often outrunning expectations. Beaten only by Fact To File on his chasing bow at Leopardstown (2m5½f, soft) in December and then held off Aspire Tower to win at Thurles over shorter last month. An interesting outsider for a top team.

Jamaico (David Pipe/Jack Tudor)

Opened his account at the third time of asking at Auteuil (2m1½f, soft) last summer, though the form is nothing to shout about. Now with David Pipe and this looks a stiff opening challenge for the new Pond House inmate.

Verdict

Britain has a very strong challenge here with Ginny's Destiny, Iroko and Grey Dawning all contenders, possibly in that very order.

The old-timer Sharjah isn't dismissed out of hand and has a fine Festival record but FACILE VEGA appears to be the main contender for Willie Mullins.

He's been prone to a blow out, but bounced right back having done that last spring to then go close here in the Supreme. If he relishes this new distance, he could be hard to topple and last month’s Irish Arkle form was boosted on Tuesday here.

Facile Vega to win the 13.30 Cheltenham at 5-2

ZANAHIYR never quite got to the top over hurdles but he ran some super races in defeat and is still only seven years old despite being around a long while.

Beaten on chasing bow by Fact To File, he showed a nice attitude to win next time and there could be plenty more to come from him over fences. He represents good each-way value.

Zanahiyr each-way for the 13.30 Cheltenham at 16-1

Find more Cheltenham Tips here at Betfred Insights

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