Cheltenham Saturday Preview - 29/01/22

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 12:15
Archie Bellamy

Lively Citizen

J: Archie Bellamy
T: D J Jeffreys
Age: 7
Weight: 10-7
OR: 117
Days: 50

The first selection of the day at Prestbury Park is the Class 2 Handicap Hurdle over 2m1f and Lively Citizen for trainer loves it round Cheltenham.

The seven year old carries some leading form into the race, putting up his best efforts at this track over the last few years and although on a career high mark is still progressing.

In November 2020 last season he landed a good Handicap Hurdle over two miles at the track and then backed that up over a furlong further when second to the progressive Breffniboy over C&D.

Up to a mark of 113 he was seen three more times last term, placing twice at Doncaster and Perth and also finishing a fair third in a small runner event.

Back for another season this term, he blew the cobwebs away at Sandown on soft ground which is not his strong but it set him up perfectly for his latest run where he managed to see off the well handicapped Broomfield Burg over course and distance at the December meeting.

The Nicky Henderson horse has since gone on to bolt up in a novice hurdle event at Kempton and that form sets the standard in this race.

He should handle his 5lb penalty.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 12:45
Chester Williams

Interne De Sivola

J: Chester Williams
T: Nick Williams
Age: 4
Weight: 11-3
OR: 131
Days: 49

The first big race of the afternoon is the Grade Two JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle over 2m1f and the horse that looks the value in the field is the Nick Williams trained Interne De Sivola.

This four year old has been seen twice to date and from both of his runs looks very progressive, especially on good/good to soft ground.

Making his first start over hurdles this term, he went to Warwick over two miles and finished a good third behind the smart In This World who looks a monster and Graystone who has since franked the form by winning a nice event at Wetherby.

Interne De Sivola also franked the form next time out over course and distance at Cheltenham when winning a Triumph Trial at the December meeting by close to six lengths.

The second has since bolted up by 21 lengths at Fontwell and with this gelding getting his ideal conditions he could go close and looks the value behind the strong favourites.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 13:20
Kielan Woods

Your Darling

J: Kielan Woods
T: Ben Pauling
Age: 7
Weight: 10-8
OR: 126
Days: 34

A very competitive Handicap Chase comes next with the market not being able to split many of the horses, but the one we find as value is the Ben Pauling trained Your Darling.

The seven year old gelding was highly touted to be a superstar off the back of beating the promising Flinteur Sacre in a bumper at Newbury on his rules debut.

However, after that nothing went to plan, pulling up in a bumper at Warwick and then never really showing any of that promise over hurdles.

He seemed to turn things around in May when winning his first event over timber and then given a break returned for his chase debut last month at Huntingdon.

Stepped up to 2m4f over the bigger obstacles he took to them like a dream to beat a decent field comfortably.

Since then he has been seen twice more, struggling slightly at Aintree, but last time out at Kempton in Boxing Day he ran a cracker to finish a narrow third behind the smart Jacamar and Mister Coffey.

Both of those horses in front of him came over the top and rallied late on to just swallow him up, with his run being very strong.

He runs off the same mark in this event and although needing to keep on improving looks to have a live chance on ground he loves.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 13:55
Paddy Brennan


J: Paddy Brennan
T: Milton Harris
Age: 7
Weight: 10-12
OR: 133
Days: 34

The Grade Three Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase comes next and sees another smart field of runners goes to post and staying down a form line we like we think Jacamar can run a big race at a double figure price.

An up and down hurdler for Milton Harris during his career, he was sent chasing this term and on the evidence of his first two runs it looked the wrong move.

However, he has learnt loads for his first two experiences and on his third start over the larger obstacles this term he went to Wincanton over todays trip and finished a neck second behind a nice type for Sam Thomas.

Running off only 2lb higher on Boxing Day, he came with a superb late run under Danny Mullins to swallow up Your Darling and Mister Coffey, to land a very competitive handicap at Kempton.

The way he finished his race off suggests he will suit Cheltenham well and off only 3lb higher he should be in the mix once more.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 14:30
Nico de Boinville

Chantry House

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 8
Weight: 11-6
OR: 160
Days: 34

The feature race of the afternoon is the Grade Two Cotswold Chase and we can't look past the favourite Chantry House for Nicky Henderson.

The JP McManus owned gelding first took the eye when winning at Warwick in decent bumper on heavy ground which saw him beat the likes of Edwardstone and Shan Blue, who both go on to become established national hunt horses.

Having just the one spin under rules he was next seen again in December 2019, this time on his hurdles debut at Cheltenham, just doing enough to see off the likes of Stolen Silver, Pipesmoker and Pileon.

All of those horses went on to win next time out and frank Chantry House's form, it was then left for the Nicky Henderson runner to do the same and he obliged at Newbury winning hard held.

This set him up perfectly for a crack at the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival where he finished a valiant third behind two superstars in stablemate Shishkin and Abacadabras.

The Seven Barrows handler always said that Chantry House would make into a nice chaser and he looked to be a star in the making over the bigger obstacles on debut at Ascot.

Although seeing off a tame field he went on to win the event by 26 growing lengths and off that performance it is going to take a smart horse to beat him.

He then went to Cheltenham and ran no sort of race, finishing third of four runners behind stablemate Fussil Raffles, but he looked a shadow of himself.

Henderson admitted he had a back problem and with that rectified he went to Wetherby in February and got back to winning ways in fine style.

Chantry House improved massively for that run next time out when taking advantage of the fall by Envoi Allen to land the Grade One Marsh Novices' Chase.

The gelding stayed out the trip well and his handler then decided to step him up in trip to 3m1f for the Grade One Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree and he went on to win by 32 lengths.

A very exciting staying chaser in open company this term, he landed a Listed Intermediate Chase on seasonal debut in a match race at Sandown on seasonal debut.

He was last seen at Kempton on Boxing Day in the King George VI Chase when pulling up with plenty of the race to go, with something a miss.

This event is much easier and gives him a great opportunity to get back on track and prove to the world he has Gold Cup credentials.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 15:05
Jonjo O'Neill Jr


J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 10
Weight: 11-6
OR: 163
Days: 42

One of the other big events of the day at Cheltenham is the Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle where Champ will be looking to strengthen his grip at the top of the Stayers' Hurdle market.

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.

Messed around with last term he was only seen twice over fences, having a prep run over two miles in the Grade Two Game Spirit Chase, before heading back to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup and with everything going wrong he was pulled up.

As a hurdler Champ was exceptional winning the Grade One Challow Hurdle, Grade One Sefton Novices' Hurdle and then finishing a narrow second in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Not knowing what would be happening with Champ this term after an operation in the summer, he was sent over hurdles on seasonal debut and in a superb renewal of the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle, he came out on top, outstaying the talented Thyme Hill.

This has now seen Henderson lean more towards keeping him over timber for the rest of the season and he is using this event as his stepping stone to the Stayers' Hurdle at the festival.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 15:40
Nico de Boinville

Balco Coastal

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 6
Weight: 11-5
OR: 130
Days: 38

The penultimate event of the afternoon at Cheltenham is the Grade Two Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and Balco Coastal for Nicky Henderson.

The six year old has always been thought of highly at Seven Barrows, finishing second in a PTP in December 2020 to Gentlemansgame, who has turned out to be a nice horse for Mouse Morris.

Given to Henderson after being bought for £100,000, he won a nice bumper on rules debut, bolting up by 17 lengths and then went to Aintree for the Grade Two Bumper and finished a fair seventh of 18 behind the likes of Stage Star and Knappers Hill.

Sent hurdling this term he has been seen twice over obstacles and looked very impressive both times, winning on debut at Huntingdon in taking style and was then gritty last time out at Ludlow, with the second that day since winning well.

He steps up in grade and trip for this event but looks to be crying out for 2m4f and should go well.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 16:15
Mr P W Mullins

Nos Na Gaoithe

J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 11-2
Days: 69

The final event of the afternoon at Cheltenham is the rescheduled Alan Swinbank Listed Mares Bumper, with the racing at Market Rasen abandoned last week.

With plenty of likeable mares heading to post we are siding with the Irish raider Nos Na Gaoithe for Willie Mullins with the Closutton maestro targeting this race every year.

The five year old daughter of Yeats looks a very useful type, winning a Mares bumper at Sligo over 2m2f in August and then last time out was a close fifth in a good Listed bumper at Navan.

That form looks very strong and having experience over a longer trip should see her stay up the hill well enough at Cheltenham.

Interesting runner.


James Mackie | @jamesmackieee