The Grade 2 Lightning Novices’ Chase (Saturday 26 January) is open to horses aged five and older and is run at Doncaster over a distance of 2 miles 78 yards, with horses having to jump 12 fences.
It was first run at Doncaster in 2010 and, for sponsorship reasons, the full name of the 2019 renewal is the Napoleons Casino & Restaurant Owlerton Sheffield Lightning Novices’ Chase. Previous winners of the race include Vaniteux, Forest Bihan, and Sceau Royal.
Seven-Year-Trends for Lightning Novices’ Chase
- All seven previous winners have been aged six or seven
- Alan King has trained two of the last five winners
- Winners have carried between 11-0 and 11-5
- Three of the seven favourites have won
- SP’s of the winners have ranged from 4/6 to 7/2
The Main Contenders
Seven-year-old who won a Grade 2 Bumper and a Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree before winning a Grade 2 Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham by seven-lengths on his chasing debut. Despite being odds-on for his next start at Sandown, he flopped badly behind Dingo Dollars, who he had beaten easily at Cheltenham. Hard to know what form he’ll turn up in, but there’s a good chance it will be his best form now he’s returned to a left-handed track with his stable in form.
There was a lot of money around for this Paul Nicholls trained six-year-old before he finished second in the race that Lalor won at Cheltenham, and he was sent off at 3/1 compared to Lalor at 7/1. He reversed that form at Sandown on his next start and has since beaten another favourite in Kalashnikov at Kempton. However, it’s noticeable that his three wins this season have all been on right-handed tracks and it could be he’s better going that way round.
He hasn’t been at his best in two races at Plumpton this season but has won in fine style at Newbury and Fakenham in between. The form of his wins still leaves him with a bit to find with the two market leaders, but the 5lb he receives from them makes him an interesting candidate.
A five-year-old who is priced up as an outsider in the early markets, but is worth a second look as he’s trained by Alan King. He also has winning experience at Doncaster having won a handicap chase here last time, but that form still leaves him with plenty to find, and he’s younger than previous winners.
Lightning Novices’ Chase Summary & Tip
None of the previous seven winners of this race have been returned bigger than 7/2, which suggests the head of the market is the place to look. The score between Lalor and Dynamite Dollars stands at one win each, but Lalor didn’t appear to run his race at Sandown last time, and looks sure to be better suited by a return to a left-handed track, whereas Dynamite Dollars may be better-suited to going right-handed. If Lalor turns up in the same form as he did at Cheltenham earlier in the season, he’s expected to win.