Grade One Celebration Chase Guide 2022

Andy Smith | @AndySmithRacing

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 14:00
Daryl Jacob

Sceau Royal

J: Daryl Jacob
T: Alan King
Age: 10
Weight: 11-7
OR: 162
Days: 15

One of the most consistent horses going over the last few seasons for Alan King. Sceau Royal has been excellent over both hurdles and fences.

This season has seen him take a listed and a grade 2 over hurdles at the start of the campaign but his form has slowed down since. Coming 3rd in the Fighting Fifth, he was then well beaten in the International Hurdle, despite going off favourite.

Looking like he’d get his season back on track in the Game Spirit at Newbury, he was unable to live with a game Funamble Sivola who franked the form well to be 2nd in the Champion chase.

Last seen being beaten by Fakir D’oudairies, coming back down in trip should suit and he’s ran well in this race in 2019 and 2021.

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 14:00
Lorcan Williams

Rouge Vif

J: Lorcan Williams
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 153
Days: 98

An easy winner of the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase back in 2020, Rouge Vif has failed to kick on under rules since.

Only winning once in handicap company at Cheltenham. He ran quite poorly in his last few outings for Whittington and has seen himself moved over to Paul Nicholls’ yard for this season. However he’s only been seen twice this campaign and has been well beaten on both occasions.

Coming last in the Shloer Chase back in November, he was then well beaten behind Mister Fisher at Kempton when going up in trip for the first time. However, it was reported he made a respiratory noise and has since had a wind op.

If that’s put him right and the longer trip suits, he definitely has the class to get involved but he’s hard to trust off the back of a bad season.

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 14:00
Harry Skelton

Nube Negra

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 167
Days: 140

“Best when fresh” is often the quote about Nube Negra from Dan Skelton. He returned to action last season with a devastating display to beat Altior easily at Kempton.

Unlucky in the Champion Chase after, he was then poor over at Punchestown at the end of the season.

Winning on return again this season when taking the Shloer Chase by storm, he couldn’t back that effort up a few weeks later here in the Tingle Creek where he only beat one rival home.

His wins over fences have tended to come off of breaks of 170+ days and not being seen for 160 days surely will suit.

Dangerous if back on song.

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 14:00
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Sky Pirate

J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T: Jonjo O'Neill
Age: 9
Weight: 11-7
OR: 150
Days: 16

It took Sky Pirate over two years to break his novice status over fences. Tried over a variety of trips, he finally found success over 2 miles at Cheltenham when winning a handicap easily.

He went on a tear that season and picked up another handicap pot before rounding out the season with a win in the Grand Annual.

He hasn’t been in the same form this season however. The handicapper seemingly has the better of him now and he’s not good enough to make the transition up to graded company.

His mark has slowly come back down to be lower than it was for his grand annual win off the back of a distant 4th last time out at Aintree.

Not of the quality to trouble those at the head of the market, he’ll likely be back in handicaps after this.

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 14:00
Harry Cobden


J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 165
Days: 76

Paul Nicholls’ 8 year old has become somewhat of a Sandown specialist over the last few seasons. Winning this race last year under Bryony Frost to beat Altior, he then won this season's Tingle Creek here back in December.

His exploits away from Sandown haven’t been quite as impressive. Weighted out of the Haldon Gold Cup saw him well beaten before bouncing back to victory in the Tingle Creek.

A decent enough showing at Kempton behind Shishkin followed although he was unable to live with the Henderson star.

Last seen running poorly in the Dublin Chase over at Leopardstown, Nicholls’ horses were going poorly in early February after their flu jabs so it’s easy to put a line through that run.

Returning here should suit and there’s no reason he can’t follow up last year’s success.