There is usually a large field going to post for the Festival finale. On average around 23 runners line up for the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase each year and its usually a tough race to find the winner. There has been only one winning favourite in the last six years. The last two winners have both been 16/1.
Last year British trained horse filled the first three placings off ratings of 143, 145 and 149.
ROCK THE WORLD
Jessica Harrington has layed Rock The World out for this race in my opinion. One piece of solid form that sticks out like a sore thumb is when Rock The World beat The Game Changer at Galway in September. The Game Changer has since progressed nicely and has gone on to win off 151. Rock The World is rated 140 and could be in light here. Good ground is key and with the weather expected to stay dry for most of the week he may well get it. This horse has a definite each way chance.
Next Sensation is only a lb higher than when winning this race last year. He's had a wind operation and could be set to make it back to back wins in the Grand Annual Chase. Next Sensation has been running over inadequate trips all season on ground that was softer than he would've liked and this could be another case of a trainer laying a horse out for this race. Winner here last year and fourth the year before - he clearly loves it around here. Michael Scudamore is happy with his horse and I expect a decent performance from last years winner.
This horse is quite at big outsider right now at somewhere close to 25/1 with most bookmakers but Ben Pauling genuinely believes this horse has a great chance of at least grabbing a place. In a newspaper interview Mr Pauling said “He’s very good fresh, he jumps brilliantly, the faster they go, the better. He just could be weaving his way through after two-out. I expect him to be jumping the last somewhere in contention.” Raven's Tower has ran well at the festival in the past, he finished 4th in the Fred Winter in 2014. He was impressive in his only appearance so far this season and is hard to ignore after reading Ben Pauling's comments.