Skip to main content

Henry VIII Novices’ Chase

It's not just about the Tingle Creek tomorrow at Sandown, there's a Grade 1 Novice Chase amongst the rather decent supporting card. Lining up for the preview is astute NH enthusiast Sam Tribe, @samtribe87.

---------------------

Racing Post Henry VIII Novices’ Chase
Grade 1 Chase, 2 Miles
Sandown 13:50
Likely going Soft, Good to Soft in places


With doubts concerning the fitness of last year’s Queen Mother Chase winner Sire De Grugy and of the two mile chase king Sprinter Sacre (despite bullish remarks from Henderson) there is a chance for another to step into the limelight. Both have won the feature race of the day, The Tingle Creek Chase and that will more than likely throw a few into the hat. However, I have chosen to take a look at the Henry VIII chase, which was changed to a grade 1 in 2011 and has been won by some nice prospects in the past (Somersby and Al Ferof to name but a few). Let’s hope that a potential Champion Chase contender of the future will feature in this event.

When first studying this race I was hopeful for at least seven runners to feature but unfortunately at the 24 hour mark, we are down to just four. However, the contest is still an intriguing one with some high class novices showing great early season form.

1. Court Minstrel 3/1
Two from two this season thus far, Court Minstrel has seemingly taken to jumping fences well. However the ground tomorrow will be a concern for many. Although no rain is forecast, the cold will ensure the ground doesn’t dry up too much and with both wins coming on good ground this season, the cause for concern seems justified. To further prove that point, all his wins over hurdles had come on ground that was good to soft or better. I think it’s fair to say Evan Williams will be hoping for a good run before putting him away for the winter in preparation for the festival. There he will probably go for the Arkle, and is currently seen as a 25/1 chance for that contest. If he goes on to win the Henry VIII that price will undoubtedly be slashed.

2. Dunraven Storm 4/1
A noticeably late addition to the chasing scene as a 9 year old novice, Dunraven Storm is another who is two from two over fences. It’s worth noting that the two he has beaten in Vibrato Valtat (entered in this contest) and Far West, are two Nicholls’ horses that were considered favourites for both of those races. This further highlights the cracking form Hobbs’ yard is in. There is nothing to separate the two in terms of strike rate this season (both on 46%) and that will probably be reflected in this race too.

3. Irish Saint 13/8
Beat Chris Pea Green (second to Court Minstrel in October) by ten lengths in a Grade 2 chase over C&D in November and with that form deserves to be market leader here. He can seemingly act on any ground and is favoured by stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies. So where are the chinks in the armour? Well he has had only one spin over the bigger obstacles whereas the others are slightly more experienced but that is clutching at straws.

4. Vibrato Valtat 7/2
A classy horse in his own right and has only finished outside the places once (and that was fifth in a field of nineteen) so would be stupid to write off. Many are also suggesting that if Sam Twiston-Davies had shaken him up earlier on the run in at Cheltenham LTO he would’ve beaten Dunraven Storm. Level here in terms of weights on paper makes those two inseparable in my eyes.

Verdict
The market seems to have got it just about right at the moment. Irish Saint deserves to be at the top of the market and will take some beating. This is backed up by the fact that Nicholls has won this contest three times out of the last six and it would be foolish not to side with him in this contest. The three behind though our no slouches and will press Irish Saint all the way. Get ready for a hot contest (and take 13/8 now!)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It's all gone Pete Tong at Betfair!

The Christmas Hurdle from Leopardstown, a good Grade 2 race during the holiday period. But now it will go into history as the race which brought Betfair down. Over £21m at odds of 29 available on Voler La Vedette in-running - that's a potential liability of over £500m. You might think that's a bit suspicious, something's fishy, especially with the horse starting at a Betfair SP of 2.96. Well, this wasn't a horse being stopped by a jockey either - the bloody horse won! Look at what was matched at 29. Split that in half and multiply by 28 for the actual liability for the layer(s). (Matched amounts always shown as double the backers' stake, never counts the layers' risk). There's no way a Betfair client would have £600m+ in their account. Maybe £20 or even £50m from the massive syndicates who regard(ed) Betfair as safer than any bank, but not £600m. So the error has to be something technical. However, rumour has it, a helpdesk reply (not gospel, natur

What shits me about match-fixing 'journalism'.

The anti-wagering media bandwagon has dozens of new members this week, all weighing in an industry they have absolutely no idea about. I'm all for getting the betting industry into the mainstream but it shits me no end when they roll out reports and celebrities who simply don't have a clue what they are talking about and don't bother to check basic facts which key arguments in their story. If this was the financial industry, making errors like this would have them in all sorts of trouble, but the same level of regulation doesn't apply because finance stock markets are supposedly all legitimate and serious, whereas sports betting is just a bit of fun for people who can never win in the long-term... according to the media. This week we have seen the sting by the Telegraph which, on the face of it, looks to be a tremendous piece of investigative work into fixing in English football. But the headlines around it are over-sensationalised yet again. Delroy Facey, a former pla

The Cup review

James McDonald feels the emotion of winning the Melbourne Cup on Verry Elleegant. (photo credit Darrian Traynor/Getty Images) With every man and his dog doing Cup previews these days, perhaps a postmortem of the race provides more value - at least for these more serious about the game or want something to refer back to in 363 days' time. It was great to see Flemington basking in the warm spring sun, with no threat of rain which buggers up the confidence you have in the state of the track, an integral part of betting on horses. The crowd was back, at least about 10% of the normal Cup day crowd, but 10,000 more than were allowed last year. Let us never have to deal with these restrictions again in our lifetimes. The TV coverage - well, um, ugh. On Derby Day, I was able to watch the racing.com stream in the UK while Sky Sports Racing kept to their normal NSW-controlled Sky Racing Aus coverage which denies that Victoria and South Australia exist. For Cup Day, they switched to the Chann