Savills Chase Date is Monday, 28 December, 2021 (2:25)
Type: Grade 1 National Hunt Steeplechase
Age Of The Horses: Five Years Old And Up
Distance: 3 Miles
Winner 2019: Delta Work
Savills Chase General Info
The Leopardstown Christmas Chase has had three main sponsors since becoming a three-mile race in 1992. It was run as the Ericsson Chase for 12 years, and then the Lexus Chase between 2004 and 2016. From 2018 onwards, however, it has been called the Savills Chase. British raiders have enjoyed success in the race on more than one occasion this century with Leopardstown providing a credible alternative to the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park for the likes of Best Mate (2003), Denman (2007), What A Friend (2009), Synchronised (2011) and Bobs Worth (2013).
Savills Chase Runners & Tips
From 23 early closing entries for the 2020 Savills Chase, a field of 14 horses have been declared with all of Ireland’s leading jumps stables represented. Willie Mullins saddles five contenders in this renewal, while Gordon Elliott has three and so does Henry De Bromhead. Here are the Savills Chases runners this year with further details of the ante post market leaders below:
- A Plus Tard (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Allaho (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Balko Des Flos (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Delta Work (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
- Easy Game (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Fakir D’Oudairies (Joseph O’Brien, IRE)
- Jett (Jessica Harrington, IRE)
- Kemboy (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Melon (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Minella Indo (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Presenting Percy (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
- Samcro (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
- Tornado Flyer (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Tout Est Permis (Noel Meade, IRE)
2020 Savills Chase Tips
Minella Indo (9/4)
As trainer Henry De Bromhead has never been closer to the landing the Savills Chase than with Monalee last year, the race-fit Minella Indo heads the betting to go one better at Leopardstown. The lightly-raced seven-year-old also represents the same owner in Barry Maloney and has made hay this autumn in capturing a couple of graded intermediate chases. Minella Indo ran out a 25-length winner over Kim Muir winner Milan Native at Wexford and easily followed-up at Navan. De Bromhead’s plan to get more experience into the horse has clearly paid off.
The Savills Chase requires more, but Minella Indo is three from three in three-mile steeplechases. He was only collared close home in the RSA Chase at last season’s Cheltenham over a little further by Champ who doesn’t have a run under his belt if turning up here. That form may be reversed, then, and it is easy to see why the bookmakers put Minella Indo as favourite. De Bromhead stable jockey Rachael Blackmore may face the difficult task of choosing between him and Monalee if connections decide to run both in the Savills Chase, but this mount has more scope for further improvement.
There are a few Savills Chase runners for whom the trip is a relative unknown, and Samcro tries this distance for the first time since winning his Irish point. An owner-stable companion of last year’s winner Delta Work, this horse has always been held in high regard by his powerful connections. Trained by Gordon Elliott for Gigginstown House Stud, Samcro is a two-time Cheltenham Festival winner who was last seen in action when a fading two-length third in a Grade 2 at Down Royal on reappearance. That course in Northern Ireland hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for him, however.
After winning his first eight career starts, things haven’t always been straightforward for Samcro. What is not in doubt, though, is on his day he has lots of ability. The 2020 Savills Chase may be even more open than the betting suggests and bookmakers all take a different view with Samcro. He ranges in price down at 8/1 up to 14/1. He had the beating of re-opposing rival Melon, only just, at the Cheltenham Festival in the Marsh Novices’ Chase back in March. Samcro is a fascinating entry to this staying steeplechase and, if proving his stamina, could develop into a Gold Cup contender rather than a Ryanair Chase horse, which is the race Elliott has been training him for.
Presenting Percy (9/2)
Switching stables has seemingly started to work out for Presenting Percy after owner Philip Reynolds moved him from the modest yard of Pat Kelly’s to Gordon Elliott. Two of the last four renewals of the Savills Chase have gone to the County Meath trainer, so he’s in the right place. Although only fifth in the last year’s race, Presenting Percy arguably comes into it this contest in better shape after winning the Boomerang.ie Chase at Thurles. That may only be a Listed contest, but was a red-hot even and he only needed nudging out to emphatically reverse form with Kemboy.
With his last run and victory coming in a Grade 1 calibre field in all but name, the nine-year-old may be back in form. The bookies certainly think so with Presenting Percy also turning the tables on old rival Monalee at Thurles too. It is now just a matter of how he backs up a positive step in the right direction. Precious little has gone right with Presenting Percy since his 2018 RSA Chase triumph, but Elliott may unlock further improvement that Kelly simply could not. He has more time to recover from his last run than 12 months ago when he was an encouraging third in the John Durkan at Punchestown. On the pick of his form and last run, Presenting Percy has solid claims here.
Delta Work (5/1)
It would be foolish to overlook last year’s Savills Chase winner Delta Work who has tended to need his first outing of the campaign. Elliott assured anyone who would listen 12 months ago that his horse would come on for his return to action, and he did exactly that in this when touching off Monalee close home. Delta Work went on to follow-up in the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival over course and distance in February, enhancing his Leopardstown chasing record to a perfect three from three at the track and trip.
The only visible downside is how he topped and tailed the end of last term and start of this. Some horses need a run to get fit, while Mark Walsh could have given Delta Work too much to do when fifth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. As a seven-year-old, however, he is still young enough to believe there is a bit more to come from him. Bookmakers respect any horses with multiple wins at the same venue, and that is why Delta Work remains one of the market principals. The Savills Chase is a hot race again this year, but he should make a bold bid defending his crown.
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Savills Chase Stats & Trends
There are statistics behind every big horse race, and you’ll find that to be the case here. The Savills Chase is one of the features of the packed festive fixture list for Irish National Hunt horse racing, and certain trends have developed on this event. You need to be aware of them, even though there are no guarantees they won’t be bucked, as it helps you make better decisions when betting. Also, take a look at numerous Cheltenham festival free bets to reduce the risks if you’re not sure about this or any other race. Here are some key Savills Chase stats that all punters should know:
- Most successful horse – Beef or Salmon is the only three-time winner of the Savills Chase following wins in 2002, 2004 and 2005. No horse has won the race more than once since, but there were a couple of previous dual victors with Rince Ri (1999 and 2000) and Maid of Money (1988 and 1989) landing the spoils in consecutive years.
- Most successful jockey – Paul Carberry had a record four winning rides in the Savills Chase, and nobody has matched that in the saddle since. Of active jockeys, Jack Kennedy (2016 and 2019) and Bryan Cooper (2014 and 2015) have both had two victories in recent times.
- Most successful trainer – Michael Hourigan has saddled a record five Savills Chase winners, but the last of these was in 2005. Noel Meade has four successes including three victories since 2010, so his entries cannot be discounted. Paul Nicholls has saddled three Savills Chase winners before, while Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have two wins apiece in the last five and four years respectively.
- Most successful owners – Gigginstown House Stud have farmed this race in recent years with a record five victories since 2014. Their maroon silks with the white star have also been carried by three seconds and as many thirds in the past five years, and these owners had a 1-2-3 in 2017. In total, Gigginstown have had an incredible 18 horses placed from 2005 onwards.
- Age – Four of the last five Savills Chase winners have been six-year-olds. Since Beef or Salmon delivered his record third victory in 2005, only one horse has been older than eight and successful here. It could pay to focus on younger steeplechasers, then. That hypothesis is supported by the fact that only three horses aged nine or over have ended landed Savills Chase glory. Stick with the age bracket of six to eight, and you should find the winner.
- Favourites – Only three (joint) market leaders have justified their place at the head of the betting in the Savills Chase over the last 12 years. That is below statistical averages for a favourite winning a race of this nature, so it may instead be wiser to look elsewhere. All of the last four winners were returned at odds ranging from 11/2 up to 11/1. A turnup is more common than favourites winning this, then.
- Ratings – From 2012 onwards, no horse rated below 157 has been able to win the Savills Chase, so it goes without saying you need a highly-regarded equine athlete. Four of the last six victors have had a rating of above 160. If that trend continues, then you can discount two-thirds of the 2020 Savills Chase runners among early entries, although five horses have an official mark of 160 exactly.
Past Savills Chase Winners
Some top names have taken this event in the past, here are all of the Savills Chase winners since 2010 and how they did at the following Cheltenham Festival.
|2020||A Plus Tard||6||Darragh O’Keeffe||Henry De Bromhead||Did not race|
|2019||Delta Work||6||Jack Kennedy||Gordon Elliott||5th in Gold Cup|
|2018||Kemboy||6||David Mullins||Willie Mullins||Unseated in Gold Cup|
|2017||Road To Respect||6||Sean Flanagan||Noel Meade||4th in Gold Cup|
|2016||Outlander||8||Jack Kennedy||Gordon Elliott||10th in Gold Cup|
|2015||Don Poli||6||Bryan Cooper||Willie Mullins||3rd in Gold Cup|
|2014||Road To Riches||7||Bryan Cooper||Noel Meade||3rd in Gold Cup|
|2013||Bobs Worth||8||Barry Geraghty||Nicky Henderson||5th in Gold Cup|
|2012||Tidal Bay||11||Ruby Walsh||Paul Nicholls||Did not race|
|2011||Synchronised||8||Tony McCoy||Jonjo O’Neill||1st in Gold Cup|
|2010||Pandorama||7||Paul Carberry||Noel Meade||7th in Gold Cup|
What Happened in 2020?
A Plus Tard made a marked step up in trip and stayed on best to win a cracking renewal of the Savills Chase at Leopardstown. Returned at 15/2 under Darragh O’Keeffe, this was a first win in the race for trainer Henry De Bromhead. The stable was also responsible for the 5/2 favourite Minella Indo who fell at the first fence on the second circuit, while last year’s Savills Chase winner Delta Work (6/1) unseated replacement jockey Sean Flanagan after regular rider Jack Kennedy was stood down following a fall on the previous day at the Christmas Festival.
Willie Mullins, who launched a five-pronged attack on the 2020 Savills Chase scooped most of the major prize money with previous winner Kemboy (9/1) and Melon (25/1) overhauled on the Leopardstown run-in by A Plus Tard. They finished second and third. Fellow Cheveley Park Stud owned horse Allaho (7/1) was some 20 lengths behind the winner in fourth with John Durkan runner-up Tornado Flyer (12/1) next home. Nine of the 14 Savills Chase runners finished the race with three including Grade 1 winning novice chasers Fakir D’Oudairies (12/1) and Samcro (18/1) pulling up.