Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase Sandown Guide 2023

Joe Glayshier | @joeglayshier

Sandown - December 09 2023
Sandown 13:50
Ciaran Gethings

Unexpected Party

J: Ciaran Gethings
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 146
Days: 21

Dan Skelton boasts one in this Grade One chase over 1m 7f at Sandown on Saturday in the form of Unexpected Party. Thr eight-year-old arrives here on the back of finishing fifth in the Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last month, where the impressive 4/1fav Stage Star claimed victory ahead of Notlongtillmay.

He had entered that contest on the back of winning a Listed novice at Chepstow a month before, ahead of Paul Nicholls' Knappers Hill. He was only able to manage fifth in the Grade One Turners' at Cheltenham in March and in this sort of company, it seems unlikely that he would win here.

Ciaran Gethings in booked to ride the 146-rated chaser who cannot be dismissed, but others are admittedly preferred.

Sandown - December 09 2023
Sandown 13:50
Gavin Sheehan

Colonel Harry

J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Jamie Snowden
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 137
Days: 31

Hungerford-based trainer Jamie Snowden sends one runner to the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown this weekend in the form of Colonel Harry. The six-year-old made his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow last month in a class three novice handicap over two miles, winning by over two lengths to Out Of Office in second, with 4/5fav Tahmuras a disappointing 18 lengths behind in third.

The gelding made a good start to life over fences there after a debut hurdling campaign in 2022/23, which saw him claim victories here and at Newcastle, as well as finishing second on his final start over hurdles in the Grade Two Premier Novices' Hurdle at Kelso in March.

The 137-rated runner looks a decent prospect over fences and with the trip probably not being an issue, he could be a big player here. Gavin Sheehan is on board.

Sandown - December 09 2023
Sandown 13:50
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Petit Tonnerre

J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T: Jonjo O'Neill
Age: 5
Weight: 11-7
OR: 138
Days: 22

Jonjo O'Neill sends one of his runners to this grade one event over one mile and seven furlongs at Sandown with his five-year-old Petit Tonnerre. The gelding is one of the younger runners in the field and made his chasing debut at Cheltenham last month in the Grade Two Arkle Trial over this trip, finishing second to Homme Public in the end by two lengths. 6/5fav and fellow runner here JPR One fell at the last when very well set to win, helping this gelding gain a place in the process.

He ended his stint over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival in March, when finishing seventh in the County Hurdle and O'Neill will be hoping for him to do better over fences and build on that promising start last time out here.

One to consider, although others are more favourable.

Sandown - December 09 2023
Sandown 13:50
Brendan Powell


J: Brendan Powell
T: Joe Tizzard
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 145
Days: 22

Joe Tizzard has one in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday in the form of the current market favourite JPR One. The six-year-old enters this contest on the back of a gut-wrenching moment last time out, where he unseated Brendan Powell at the last fence when well clear after a superb round of jumping, to cost him victory in the Grade Two Arkle Trial at Cheltenham last month.

That came after he recorded victory on his fences debut at Newton Abbott in October and despite that heartbreaking moment last month, he looks well set to go again and go one better here.

The 145-rated runner looked a prospect over hurdles but his jumping last time out, bar the last fence, was top drawer and could prove to be the difference here.

Sandown - December 09 2023
Sandown 13:50
Lorcan Williams


J: Lorcan Williams
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 5
Weight: 11-7
OR: 143
Days: 49

Somerset-based Paul Nicholls sends one to this grade one chase over 1m 7f at Sandown on Saturday in the form of his gelding Iceo. The five-year-old arrives at this contest on the back of finishing third at Newton Abbott in October, behind Monviel and fellow runner here JPR One, who claimed success that day with relative ease.

That was the gelding's second start over fences, having won on his first go over the larger obstacles by 12 lengths at the same course earlier in October. He impressed back in March here to win a class one handicap over hurdles over this distance and now enters graded company for the first time over fences for Nicholls, looking to run better than last time out.

He's one to consider here in the hands of Lorcan Williams.

Sandown - December 09 2023
Sandown 13:50
David Noonan

Le Patron

J: David Noonan
T: Gary Moore
Age: 5
Weight: 11-7
OR: 133
Days: 27

Gary Moore boasts one runner in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday in the form of the current market outsider Le Patron. The five-year-old is actually currently unbeaten over fences, having made his debut over the larger obstacles at Fontwell in October over a longer trip of 2m 3f.

He followed that win with another last month at this course over 2m 4f, beating Blow Your Wad by ten lengths before heading into graded company here. The five-year-old failed to record a victory over hurdles earlier on in his career and despite those two wins coming at a lesser level than this, he looks a better prospect over the fences for Moore and will be hoping to give a good account of himself in the hands of David Noonan.

It remains to be seen how he will cope with the step up in class, though.