The JLT Novices Chase was only added to the Cheltenham festival programme in 2011. It is a two and a half mile contest which bridges the gap between the two mile Arkle Trophy and the three mile RSA Chase. Willie Mullins won the race with Sir Des Champs in 2012 and again last year with Vautour.

Bristol De Mai set to start favourite at Cheltenham

The ante-post favourite for this race is Bristol De Mai, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. The grey was a Grade 1 winner over hurdles on his first start for the stable in December 2014. He beat Karezak by six lengths in the Future Champions Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow. He also finished third at Aintree behind All Yours the following spring.

He raced keenly on his chasing debut when beaten by Garde La Victoire at Uttoxeter before bolting up at Warwick next time. He was beaten over two miles by Ar Mad at Sandown in December but has won all three chases at this distance since.

Bristol De Mai was particularly impressive when beating Amore Alato by 32 lengths in heavy ground at Haydock in January. He confirmed his position at the head of the market when making all to win the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown last month.

Garde La Victoire has gone on to win at Cheltenham and Ludlow but also holds an entry in the Arkle Trophy. All three of his chasing wins have been over two miles so that would seem the more logical target, particularly if the going becomes testing.

Outlander

Outlander is unbeaten over fences

Outlander the pick of Mullins JLT Novices Chase Cheltenham entries

More Of That, a former World Hurdle winner, looks destined for the three-mile RSA Chase. Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has always had that race as the gelding’s objective but he does not want heavy ground. He won well here on soft ground in December when beating Sametegal by 13 lengths and would be a major threat if switching from the RSA Chase.

Nicky Henderson may elect to run L’Ami Serge here in preference to the Arkle. The six-year-old left connections bemused when failing to fire in a three-runner race at Warwick last month. No explanation has been offered for that defeat with the horse reported to be in great form at home, both before and after the race.

Willie Mullins has numerous options here with Outlander possibly the pick. He was third to Nichols Canyon in a Grade 1 over hurdles at Punchestown last season and looks even better over fences. He is unbeaten in three starts culminating in a two and three-quarter lengths win over Monksland at Leopardstown.

Free Horse Racing Betting Tips – JLT Novices Chase 17/03/2016

Bristol De Mai @9-2 Betfair

Outlander @5-1 Betfair

Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3 (Non-Runner No Bet)

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