The Classic Chase at Warwick: Four horses for any shortlist

By Tom Thurgood@tdthurgood
Wed 9 Jan 2019

The McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Chase takes centre stage on Warwick’s richest raceday of the season on Saturday and 25 have been entered for the Grade Three prize.

Subsequent Grand National winner One For Arthur won the race in 2017, while last year’s victor Milansbar was subsequently fifth in the iconic race at Aintree.

Are there any potential Grand National contenders lurking this time? Here are several runners that merit closer consideration for the staying contest:


Trainer: Kim Bailey

General odds: 8-1

Rocky's Treasure finished second behind Santini at Newbury in December

The most progressive horse in the field, Rocky’s Treasure has made a fantastic start to life over fences this season and is a tough, good jumper with his trainer in fine fettle.

He will be high in the weights (has 11st 3lb to carry as things stand) and is light on chasing experience but his profile is highly appealing against more exposed chasers and the better-than-expected ground conditions at this time of year will suit him better than most.

This will be the longest trip he has tackled, by more than four furlongs, but he is viewed as a potential Scottish Grand National contender by connections and the extra yardage may unlock even further improvement.

The one caveat is that he is also entered in the novice chase earlier on the card.


Trainer: Paul Nicholls

General odds: 9-1

Ibis Du Rheu scored for the first time over fences at Cheltenham in November

Paul Nicholls has won three of the past 11 runnings of the Classic Chase and Ibis Du Rheu, who is tackling 3m5f and going up markedly in trip for the first time, catches the eye.

While he has something to prove, the trainer has always believed Ibis Du Rheu has the promise to stay well and the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival was considered as a potential target last season.

He has form in big fields and was scooped the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham in 2016.

Harry Cobden is likely to be on board and has developed a good relationship with the horse in three previous starts.


Trainer: Neil King

General odds: 10-1

Relive Milansbar's success in this race last year

Milansbar will seek to become the first back-to-back winner of the race and this marathon test has been one of the 12-year-old’s principal targets all season.

Higher in the weights than last year, trainer Neil King is not concerned by the additional 6lb this time round and Milansbar shaped better than the result last time in the Betfair London National, jumping nicely in front before tiring from three out.

The veteran is likely to be vulnerable for win purposes as he is set for competition towards the head of affairs in this field, but has assured stamina, is clearly effective at Warwick and should take a step forward from his seasonal return last month.

Horse: COGRY

Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies

General odds: 12-1

Cogry showed a tremendous attitude to win at Cheltenham last time out

Arriving here after an admirable victory at Cheltenham in December, the ten-year-old is a tough campaigner who was second in this race last year.

Cogry also has a firm liking for this track, finishing in the first three in five of his six career starts at Warwick (including two wins).

The likely decent going is another factor in this gelding’s favour and, with all the caveats concerning a potentially big-runner field around a tight track, he certainly looks one of the more solid contenders here from an each-way perspective.

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