Grade One Manifesto Novices' Chase Guide

Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 12:45
3
Harry Cobden

Hitman

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 5
Weight: 11-4
OR: 151
Days: 33

Having ran respectably over hurdles in France the son of Falco made his British/chase debut at Ffos Las in November in very tricky conditions.

The four year old took every fence in his stride, getting better as the race went on and went on to win the event by an eased down 30 lengths.

That performance was highly impressive and he looked to prove he was a Grade One horse in the making next time out at Sandown when being entered into the Henry VIII Novices' Chase.

Having a big reputation the yard thought he had a big chance but on the day he had to settle for second behind the impressive Allmankind, who landed the event in good style.

With that run under his belt in Grade One company he headed into the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown, looking for the step up in trip to really bring him along.

However, when still looking full of running he fell with almost half of the race left to go, leaving a lot to be desired for punters.

Having swerved the Cheltenham festival, he had a prep run last time out at Newbury ahead of this race and he went on to score with ease at a very short price.

He is obviously a classy recruit for the yard and looks to be one of the more likely winners.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
06/03/21NBY20Gd11-31
06/02/21SAN20Hy11-1F
05/12/20SAN15.5Sft10-102
08/11/20FFO16Sft10-71
22/01/20PAU16.5VSft9-131
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 12:45
5
Harry Skelton

Protektorat

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 6
Weight: 11-4
OR: 150
Days: 48

Dan Skelton's Protektorat was a smart hurdles horse over 2m4f, and this season made an emphatic start to his chase career, especially on debut at Carlisle when landing a Listed race by seven lengths.

The son of Saint Des Saints was a previous winner at Cheltenham over the smaller obstacles, landing a Listed event in January 2020 and since then has finished third in a Grade Two at the same track whilst running a modest race at the festival in the Coral Cup.

Now chasing he looks to be a different proposition all together and on his chase debut looked to be something special, and franked that form next time out at Cheltenham when landing a four runner Novices' Chase at Prestbury Park.

He showed serious ability that day to win the event by 17 lengths from the smart Southfield Stone and Paint The Dream, with the latter winning last time out.

However, since then his season has gone down hill finishing a weak second of three in the Grade Two Dipper Novices' Chase at Wincanton.

He was then stepped up in trip at Kelso next time out trying three miles out and it did not work, with him coming home a tired 41 lengths second in a three runner race.

He needs a revival in form stepping into a Grade One and looks opposable on his last two runs.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
19/02/21KEL23.5Sft11-82
09/01/21WCN20GS11-32
13/11/20CHL20GS11-71
22/10/20CRL16GS11-21
11/03/20CHL21Sft11-20
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 12:45
2
Daryl Jacob

Fusil Raffles

J:
 
Daryl Jacob
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 6
Weight: 11-4
OR: 155
Days: 21

Fusil Raffles is Nicky Henderson's sole runner in the race and has a superb profile throughout his career, having been a Grade One winner over hurdles and this season taking to fences superbly.

This term he has been seen five times and has gone on to win three of those events, with two of those victories coming at Cheltenham.

He made his debut over fences at Uttoxeter in a decent five runner events, with third placed Gumball going on to win next time out.

The gelding was then sent to Cheltenham in November and extended his winning ways in a four runner event, but next time out gave his only poor run of the season when pulled up over the same course and distance.

With that blip out of the way, he went back to Cheltenham in December and got back to winning ways in a Novices' Chase stepping up to 2m4f for the first time.

Last time out he gave another career best run over fences to narrowly be beaten by stablemate Chantry House in the Grade One Marsh Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham festival.

He looks to have a huge chance if fit enough after that run, but there could be a slight suspicion that he saves his best runs for Cheltenham and Aintree might be against him.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/04/21AIN20GS11-4P
18/03/21CHL20GS11-42
12/12/20CHL20.5Sft11-81
14/11/20CHL16GS11-5P
23/10/20CHL16Gd11-71
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 12:45
1
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Eldorado Allen

J:
 
Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T:
 
Colin Tizzard
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 152
Days: 23

Eldorado Allen for Colin Tizzard has some strong form in the book heading into the event, but should be no match for the horses at the top of the betting

Having been a fair hurdler the six year old made his chase debut this term and got off to a winning start at Newton Abbott, seeing off the impressive Stormy Ireland.

He was then sent to Cheltenham for a Grade Two Novices' Chase last month and although being a tad fortunate with Gumball falling when leading, he went on to pick up the pieces and win the event by 19 lengths.

Tizzard then sent him to Sandown for the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase and he was ultimately outclassed into fourth behind Allmankind.

He was again seen off in impressive style last time out at Doncaster win the Grade Two Lightning Novices' Chase behind Shishkin and he then finished second behind the same superstar last time out in the Grade One Arkle at the Cheltenham festival.

What was most taking about that performance was the way he stayed on best of the rest and the ground he made up in the final stages and that suggests he is a worth a try at this trip.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/04/21AIN20GS11-45
16/03/21CHL16Sft11-42
30/01/21DON16.5Sft11-52
05/12/20SAN15.5Sft11-24
14/11/20CHL16GS11-21
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 12:45
6
Brian Hayes

The Shunter

J:
 
Brian Hayes
T:
 
Emmet Mullins
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 153
Days: 21

The Shunter has been one of the stories of the season for shrewd Irish trainer Emmet Mullins and now he is seeking Grade One glory in this event.

The eight year old has been a fine servant for the yard this season, over both hurdles and fences and off the back of his last run at the Cheltenham festival he deserves his chance in this company.

Frequently raced this term, his first stand out win of the season came at Cheltenham in the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle, when bolting up over two miles.

Still on a nice mark over fences he was sent to the Dublin Racing Festival in the Matheson Handicap Chase and he finished a staying on third of 20 runners.

Not afraid of travelling this horse, Mullins took him next to Kelso for the Morebattle Hurdle, where the winner of the race would have a chance of a £100,000 bonus if going on to win the race and then at the Cheltenham festival.

Having stayed on well to take that race in Scotland, he was then sent into the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham festival over 2m4f and under a superb ride by 7lb claimer Jordan Gainford he took the event.

He is versatile with ground and has shown he stays this trip well, but he could just be a handicapper dropping into a Grade One.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
01/05/21PUN20Gd/Y11-93
08/04/21AIN20GS11-42
18/03/21CHL20.5GS10-51
06/03/21KEL16GS10-111
06/02/21LEO17.5Sft10-73
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 12:45
7
David Noonan

Umbrigado

J:
 
David Noonan
T:
 
David Pipe
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 151
Days: 33

Umbrigado for trainer David Pipe heads into the event off the back of a hat-trick of wins over fences, but stepping into a Grade One for the first time leaves him vulnerable.

Having been a fair hurdler during his career, he was taken over fences this term and has performed to a high standard albeit it being in lesser company.

Having finished second on his chase debut at Uttoxeter in a three runner race, he then went to Fontwell and got off the mark in fine style.

He backed that up next time out at Wetherby over two miles when a comfortable winner of a Class 3 Handicap and he then headed to Sandown in his hat-trick bid.

This time he was stepping up in trip and class for the Grade Three Greatwood Gold Cup and coming from the clouds he stayed on best of the field to get up close home.

All this winning form is nice enough in handicap company but stepping up against seasoned graded performers could leave him vulnerable if not improving again.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
06/03/21NBY20Gd11-31
17/02/21WET15Sft11-121
14/01/21FON19.5Hy10-121
08/12/20UTT20Sft11-02
21/11/20HAY19Sft11-12
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 12:45
4
Aidan Coleman

Phoenix Way

J:
 
Aidan Coleman
T:
 
Harry Fry
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 145
Days: 124

The final runner of the Grade One event is the outsider Phoenix Way for trainer Harry Fry and owner J P McManus, who is a big unknown entity over fences.

He was a very promising hurdles horse finishing second in a novices' event over course and distance last term and when stepped up in trip got off the mark nicely at Plumpton.

He then went to Huntingdon over a staying trip for the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier and stayed on late in the day to win really well.

From what we have seen him over timber it is very surprising to see him dropped down in trip over two miles having done his best work over further and that looks an obvious worry.

This year the seven year old made his return at Warwick over fences for the first time and won narrowly in a three runner event over two miles.

He was then pitched into Grade One company in the Henry VII Novices' Chase and was pulled up before the third last and off the back of that may find a few too good.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
05/12/20SAN15.5Sft11-2P
18/11/20WAR16.5GS11-21
24/01/20HUN25Sft11-41
06/01/19PLU20.5GS11-21
08/12/18SAN16Hy10-122

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