Kim Muir Challenge Cup Date is March, 12, 2020
Type: National Hunt Steeplechase (3 miles 2 furlongs)
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The last race on day three of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival is the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup. The race is a handicap chase event for amateur jockeys only over 3 miles 2 furlongs, featuring twenty-one fences on the New Course and worth £70,000 in prize money. It takes place on Thursday March 12th at 5.30PM.
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Kim Muir Challenge Cup 2020 Preview & Tips
Preview By Frank Monkhouse
Former professional boxer who is now a content writer specialising in sports and betting. Has worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Coral and Betfair covering all manner of sports, from boxing and football to horse racing. A student of the formbook, he loved stats, trends, numbers and how they can guide punters towards a winner.
This race was inaugurated in 1946 and has been on the Cheltenham schedule ever since, and though the name of legendary trainer Fulke Walwyn was added to the title back in 1991, the race has always been colloquially known as the Kim Muir.
The Kim Muir Chase 2020 will be one of two races at the Festival saved for amateur jockeys only but that is not a fact that puts punters off, betting turnover on this race still going into the millions of pounds as they and top trainers alike still target the race heavily.
Antepost Key Runners & Favourites
This is one of a number of races for which entrants are far from being known, but in fairness to them William Hill have been ahead of the game and are the only bookmaker at the time of writing to produce an ante post book on this race, allowing us to attempt to grab some early value on albeit tentative advance selections.
First of all here we only have the possible entrants for this race listed by William Hill to go on at this early point, and even then the challenge given that this is a handicap race is to attempt to not only second-guess what level we believe these contenders may be at come March 12th, but also what official mark they may be on by then which determines the weight they will ultimately carry.
Belami Des Pictons
We’ll start with early 25/1 shot Belami Des Pictons, an eight-yar-old of Venetia Williams’ yard. Although he’s only had seven chase races and 14 in public in total, his best form is some two to three years old now. In winning three novice chases back in 2017 he reached a mark of 148 but after suffering a problem was off the track for over a year.
When finally coming back he pulled up at Sandown in February but returned for this season with a good fourth place finish at Cheltenham in the BetVictor Gold Cup and despite having gone down to a mark of 145, it is very much felt he can improve now so if his rating isn’t too prohibitive come the big day, he’d be in with a strong each-way chance.
Glenloe is another one in with a squeak. In ten hurdle races he reached a mark of 141, making his current chase rating of 135 look potentially generous if he can yet get better over the larger obstacles. In four chases to date his form has remained flat rather than expanding, however there is hope for him yet over longer trips since he’s been kept to around the 2½-mile mark thus far.
Gordon Elliott has a fantastic record at Cheltenham and will know exactly how to prepare this animal for March making his chances in the Kim Muir fair, and so with a potential rate of improvement of another 10lbs or so he simply has to enter the reckoning.
A good form line to keep in mind for this event is the one regarding old rivals Cogry and Singlefarmpayment. The pair have met several times before with the former coming out on top, but in a handicap scenario that won’t stay the same forever and if anything, we’re using Cogry as a barometer here.
Cogry is a ten-year-old trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies who has plenty of chasing miles on the clock, one who has won two Grade 3’s over this course and distance two Decembers running. His overall record at Cheltenham is faultless but given that he continues to rise in the handicap ratings it is unlikely at this stage of his career that he’d turn up for this event as the best handicapped horse in the race.
Tom George’s Singlefarmpayment on the other hand is a year younger than Cogry and still potentially has some improvement to come. He’s been second to Cogry twice at Cheltenham and was fourth behind him in December 2019, but it’s possible his gradual fall down the weights could continue before March and yet he remains capable of a level of form that makes him competitive.
If anything, he may even reach a higher level by the time the Kim Muir comes along and so should he get in off a mark of around 137-140 he would begin to look pretty well treated at the weights.
Plan Of Attack
The last early contender we paid special attention to was Henry De Bromhead’s young chaser Plan Of Attack. At the time of writing he has only raced three times over fences, improving in lumps each time, so while he’s an obvious contender should his trajectory remain the same he will also become high profile and as such the handicapper won’t be particularly lenient.
He could move from a rating of 135 to around 145 by the time this race comes around, so while his level of form may improve again, we couldn’t state with any real confidence that he’d be in the ‘well-handicapped’ category by March though it remains possible and he is a tempting early price.
Kim Muir Stats & Trends
The most successful trainer in this race, Fred Rimell, is from a bygone age but the most successful jockey is very much going strong. Jamie Codd has taken the Kim Muir four times to date, rides Cheltenham beautifully and is likely to be given a strong ride from JP McManus so keep a good eye on his mount.
The better stats surround the horses themselves though with the below three categories offering us some understanding on what it takes to win the Kim Muir.
This Season’s Form
7 out of the last 10 winners were placed at least twice that season heading into the Kim Muir, with the three exceptions being two Jamie Codd rides and a 13/2 favourite that was clearly expected to run well regardless.
9 of our ten have run at least three times before this race, meaning while a heavy season wouldn’t be advised, horses in this race need to be fully match-fit and so having had three or ideally even four races before this one during the season will be seen as ideal.
The Package, a Jamie Codd ride with no real form to speak of going into the event, is an exception but all of the other nine winners were aged 7-9 and this appears to be ideal for a Kim Muir type.
Only two favourites have won this race in the last ten years, but that is not to say winners of the Kim Muir have been impossible to find for punters. With the exception of 40/1 shot Domesday Book, the other nine winners have an average SP of only 8/1, with odds having ranged from 10/3 to 14/1 which is an encouragingly tight grouping.
The winner it would seem is very likely to come from a group of horses priced up at 10/1 or less based on recent times which should make the process of narrowing the field down that much easier.
Kim Muir Challenge Cup Tips
Given what we know so far and taking the potential ability of these horses into question, allied with their likely handicap marks and their early odds, the two to concentrate on are SINGLEPARMPAYMENT and PLAN OF ATTACK.
The latter can keep climbing the ranks for sure and in Henry De Bromhead he has a handler who will understand the important of looking after his handicap mark as much as possible, so remaining of a positive mind where this is concerned he’s currently the most likely horses in the field to have weight in hand when the final entries are revealed making him at 33/1 a good each-way prospect.
Singlefarmpayment is a little older and has been round the block at Cheltenham, but we’d like to have a solid type such as him kept on side as well. On a line through great yardstick Cogry we see that this horse’s time is sure to come, and if his handicap mark should fall even further then he’d have a major each-way shout in this contest at around 25/1.
Kim Muir Challenge Cup Ante Post Bets: PLAN OF ATTACK & SINGLEFARMPAYMENT
Kim Muir Challenge Cup Offers
It’s very much advised that, without allowing yourself to be too tempted, you keep a sharp eye on all of the Cheltenham-specific offers put out by major online bookmakers in advance of this season’s Festival.
Last year offers were so generous that they are said to have contributed to an overall fall in gambling yield in Britain but as competition is so fierce, they are likely to be just as lavish this time around.
Online firms will no doubt continue to fight for our business and so we should see something akin to some of last year’s standout offers such as Coral’s Double Your Winnings on the First Race at Cheltenham (up to £25), Betway Sports’ £30 in Free Bets and the Bet £10 Get £40 Cheltenham Special Sign Up deal from Betfred.
Kim Muir Challenge Cup Betting Guide
It’s very early days for Kim Muir betting at the moment, only one firm even offering ante post odds at the time of writing. Prices are relatively generous though and so small each-way bets on the above two horses could yet pay dividends, but it’s when we get to March that things really kick off.
Final entries for this race are revealed on Tuesday March 10th, the first day of the Festival, and at that point we’ll know the final weights, the each-way terms and of course the likely underfoot conditions giving us a better chance to give more accurate win and each-way Kim Muir Chase tips.
Past Kim Muir winners
This is a classic old race, but it’s in the last ten winners we’ll glean the most information.
|2019||Any Second Now||5253||7||6/1||Derek O’Connor||Ted Walsh|
|2018||Missed Approach||P632||8||8/1||Noel McParlan||Warren Greatrex|
|2017||Domesday Book||5683||7||40/1||Gina Andrews||Stuart Edmunds|
|2016||Cause Of Causes||5||8||9/2||Jamie Codd||Gordon Elliott|
|2015||The Package||6P||12||9/1||Jamie Codd||David Pipe|
|2014||Spring Heeled||213280||7||12/1||Robbie McNamara||Jim Culloty|
|2013||Same Difference||34136||7||14/1||Ryan Hatch||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|2012||Sunnyhillboy||7P9||9||13/2f||Alan Berry||Jonjo O’Neill|
|2011||Junior||1232||8||10/3f||Jamie Codd||David Pipe|
|2010||Ballabriggs||311||9||9/1||Richard Harding||Donald McCain, Jr|
What Happened in 2019?
An almost full field of 23 runners went to post for the 2019 Kim Muir Chase with Gordon Elliott’s Measureofmydreams an extremely strongly backed 3/1 favourite as the huge Cheltenham crowd looked to land one more gamble before the end of the day.
There was an air of expectation around a potential return to the winner’s enclosure for veteran trainer Ted Walsh though as his 6/1 chance Any Second Now was fair from unpopular in the ring, top amateur Derek O’Connor taking the ride.
It was indeed to be their day too as the seven-year-old bounded up the hill to take the Kim Muir by 3¾ lengths from Kilfilum Cross (7/1), providing yet another Cheltenham winner for leading owner JP McManus.