2021 Grade Two Game Spirit Chase Guide

Newbury - February 21 2021
Newbury 15:00
1
Harry Cobden

Greaneteen

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 7
Weight: 11-6
OR: 161
Days: 78

Having been a smart horse over hurdles, last term the gelding showed he was even better over fences when landing three of his five events and also finishing a good fourth in the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham festival.

He seems to be a much different horse this term, maturing massively during summer and now looks like a very smart chaser in the making.

He proved how much he has improved on his seasonal debut at Exeter when grinding out the Grade Two Haldon Gold Cup from Moonlighter who has gone on to win since.

Nicholls then decided to step him up to Grade One company in the Tingle Creek Chase and he ran a cracker behind stablemate Politologue to finish runner up in the event.

He is the leading contender in this event with strong two mile form but will have to come on for that run once more.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
24/04/21SAN15.5Gd11-71
17/03/21CHL16GS11-104
21/02/21NBY16.5GS11-63
05/12/20SAN15.5Sft11-72
03/11/20EXE17.5Gd11-31
Newbury - February 21 2021
Newbury 15:00
2
Nico de Boinville

Champ

J:
 
Nico de Boinville
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 9
Weight: 11-3
OR: 165
Days: 347

The superstar Champ pulled off the performance of the 2020 Cheltenham festival when jumping the last in the RSA well behind the two tiring leaders but managing to fly up the hill, staying the best of the field and just getting up on the line to land the Grade One.

Before that race he lost his unbeaten record over fences when falling two out at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, but at the festival he put everything right and looks to be a hell of a staying horse.

The Gold Cup is the big target for the horse this term and with that in mind the Seven Barrows team have been slightly more cautious with him and what races he is entered in.

With Henderson having other horses also in that division he has found it difficult to give Champ a starting point this season, but with it becoming desperately close to the festival, the handler has now bit the bullet.

It looked as though the gelding would be starting his season off over in Ireland in the Savills Chase over Christmas, but Henderson felt the Leopardstown contest was coming too soon after his wind operation as the handler admitted that the star had undergone the procedure in August.

The Cotswold Chase became an option for Champ, but with Santini possibly running in that event it left the Denman Chase as his main target.

However, after Altior bypassed the Game Spirit Chase it left Henderson to change things around once more and he sends the superstar over two mile for the first time since 2017.

It looks a plan to take the freshness out of the horse ahead of the Gold Cup in March and it looks a tough task to win this with him normally doing his best work in the final mile of three,

Newbury - February 21 2021
Newbury 15:00
6
Daryl Jacob

Sceau Royal

J:
 
Daryl Jacob
T:
 
Alan King
Age: 9
Weight: 11-0
OR: 163
Days: 56

The eight year old has been tried over both hurdles and fences during his career and although winning races like the Shloer Chase and Henry VIII Novices' Chase over the bigger obstacles, last term showed that he may need to step back to hurdles.

This has now seen his handler move him back to the smaller obstacles this term and it looked to be the right move off the back of his seasonal debut when taking the Welsh Champion Hurdle.

He used that run to the go on and land the the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton next time out and then ran another cracker in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle finishing second to Champion Hurdle winner Epatante when stepping up to Grade One company.

Having been frequently run already this season, King still entered him for the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December and he ran another superb race to finish a closely bunched fourth.

With the versatile horse predominantly running this season over hurdles, King gave him his chance over fences over Christmas in the Desert Orchid Chase.

Unfortunately it was a disaster with him falling early on in the race, but we still think this gelding can go well in this race having the best form at this trip throughout the field and if improving his jumping should be a player off the back of a break.

Newbury - February 21 2021
Newbury 15:00
4
Charlie Deutsch

Fanion D'Estruval

J:
 
Charlie Deutsch
T:
 
Venetia Williams
Age: 6
Weight: 11-0
OR: 157
Days: 29

The gelding joined the inform Venetia Williams last season and got off the mark at the first time of asking at Newbury in a Class 3 Chase, beating some smart types.

He was then sent to Kempton for the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices' Chase and was outclassed by better rivals including Global Citizen, Rouge Vif and Grand Sancy.

This season he made his seasonal debut back over his preferred two miles and was a valiant second behind Magic Saint at Cheltenham.

He stepped up in trip last time out for the Peterborough Chase at Cheltenham when going well and unfortunately fell when mounting his challenge

Williams has always been fond of this horse and believes he can mix it with the best chasers in the game and he was given that chance in the Grade One Clarence House Chase last time out.

He ran a credible race to finish fourth behind the big hitters and with this race substantially weaker he may be able to be placed, being a past course and distance winner.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/03/21CHL20.5GS11-105
21/02/21NBY16.5GS11-04
23/01/21ASC17Sft11-74
11/12/20CHL20Sft11-0F
13/11/20CHL16GS11-122
Newbury - February 21 2021
Newbury 15:00
3
Bryony Frost

Dolos

J:
 
Bryony Frost
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 8
Weight: 11-0
OR: 159
Days: 15

Nicholls second runner in the race is the eight year old Dolos, who has always threatened to be a smart horse but ultimately hasn't performed when he has needed to.

The gelding has been seen three times this season, finishing a tame fourth on seasonal debut at Cheltenham in a Handicap Chase in October and then finishing in the same position when upped in Grade for the Peterborough Chase again at Prestbury Park.

He was a much better second last time out behind Moonlighter who franked the form of Greaneteen, but overall he looks like an average handicapper stepping up for a black type race.

Newbury - February 21 2021
Newbury 15:00
5
Bryan Carver

Magic Saint

J:
 
Bryan Carver
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 158
Days: 71

The final Nicholls runner from his three pronged attack in the race is Magic Saint, who like stablemate Dolos looks to be a handicapper out of his depth in this sphere.

The gelding made his seasonal debut at Aintree in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase and was outclassed into sixth finishing behind some fair horses.

He dropped back down to, two miles at Cheltenham next time out in a Handicap Chase and he managed to see off Fanion D'Estruval to land the event.

Since that stand out piece of form he has struggled in both his events, finishing fourth twice at Ascot and Cheltenham in handicap events and he needs to be better than that stepping up in class.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/21AIN21GS11-12P
21/02/21NBY16.5GS11-05
12/12/20CHL16.5Sft11-94
21/11/20ASC17Sft11-94
13/11/20CHL16GS11-91

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