Grade One Manifesto Novices' Chase Guide 2022

Jake Russell | @JakeRuss1000

Aintree - April 06 2022
Aintree 12:45
Harry Cobden

Pic D'Orhy

J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 154
Days: 40

What looks like a fairly weak Grade 1 contest to kick start the Grand National Meeting is a perfectly good opportunity for some slightly smaller connections to land some decent prize money and write a Grade 1 contest to their name.

But in what is usual for this meeting, they will have to fend off a Paul Nicholls horse, a yard that have done so well at this meeting in previous years.

Pic D’Orhy has won three races this season, which include two Grade 2’s, The Howden Noel Novices Chase at Ascot in November of last year, where he won by 9 lengths, and the Grade 2 Pendil Novices Chase at Kempton in February by a length.

His jumping last time out at Kempton was superb, and although on paper the winning margin doesn’t look like he won well, but he really did win the race easily and put the contest to bed with a very good leap at the last, running on well to the line.

Conditions of Good to Soft currently listed at Aintree more than suit this horse, and he clearly has the best form on paper coming into the race, and really the only horse to win multiple Graded races over fences in his career.

He doesn’t usually put two good runs together however as his form suggests but he looks better than ever at present and should be winning a race of this nature, although it is a Grade 1 contest, it isn’t very strong at all compared to previous years.

Two-time Grade 2 winner this season at Ascot and Kempton, the conditions will more than suit and Aintree if a track that will play to his strengths. The only horse to win multiple Graded races over fences this season so he has the best form on paper, very much the one to beat in this for a trainer that does superb at this meeting.

Aintree - April 06 2022
Aintree 12:45
Kielan Woods

Millers Bank

J: Kielan Woods
T: Alex Hales
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 147
Days: 40

The Alex Hales horse has been slightly unlucky in his last few runs this season, unseating in two starts before his last which were both Grade 2’s at Newbury and Cheltenham after a chasing debut win at Huntingdon back in October last year, jumping like a natural to then win comfortably by 11 lengths which could have been more had they really asked him.

He was slightly back to form when coming second behind Pic D’orhy in the Pendil Novices Chase at Kempton last time out, staying on well coming to the line but was no match for the winner that day who ended up in front by a length going past the line.

It can be quite concerning though when a horse has only completed 2 out of his last four runs over the larger obstacles, as jumping is the aim of the game when it comes to operating over fences, but should he reproduce an effort like he did back in October and last time out, he could run well in this and finally land the big one.

His trainer obviously thinks a lot of him as he insists on running him in these Graded races, he must be showing something at home that excites connections.

Has only completed twice in four starts over fences but was very impressive on chasing debut back in October and back to form when second in a Grade 2 latest, should he reproduce the chasing debut effort than he could run well and upset the main rivals in the market.

Aintree - April 06 2022
Aintree 12:45


T: Milton Harris
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 135
Days: 5

Milton Harris is having his best season since reforming a few years back, having plenty of Graded winners this season already with Knight Salute.

He lines Jacamar up in this who is the lowest rated horse in the race but is a two-time winner this season over fences.

He was a very impressive winner on his second to last start when winning at Leicester, landing a Class 3 at Leicester last month by just under 6 lengths.

He has only ever won at Class 3 level so takes a massive step up in class again after finishing a remote fourth in the Grade 2 Future Novices Hurdle at Ayr over the weekend, so needs to overcome the quick turn around here and handle the step up again to a Grade 1 race of this nature.

But he is clearly in fine fettle at the moment and is with a trainer who knows how to get them ready with a quick turnaround, so should more improvement come out of him he could outrun his odds, but that would be a huge ask.

Takes a huge step up in class in this and has a quick turnaround to overcome (Ran at Ayr over the weekend) but is a two-time winner this season.

Will need to step his form up massively to land a blow in this but he is with a trainer who can get them to step up.

Aintree - April 06 2022
Aintree 12:45
Brendan Powell

War Lord

J: Brendan Powell
T: Colin Tizzard
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 149
Days: 23

The Colin/Joe Tizzard and Brendan Powell partnership this season has been fantastic, with both having multiple winners throughout the year, as the Collin Tizzard horses are running very well this season.

One of his standout performers this season is the lovely grey War Lord who is a three-time winner this year with only his first season over the larger obstacles, with a best career performance to date being in the Cazoo Novices Chase at Lingfield for their Winter Millions weekend, beating Faivoir and Il Ridoto by just under 5 lengths.

He ran with a huge amount of credit last time out however when contesting in the Grade 1 Arkle at the Cheltenham festival last month, won by leading 2-miler Edwardstone, finishing a very good fourth out of 11 runners only to be beaten by just under 11 lengths.

He had three very good horses finish in front of him that day and also some good ones in behind, outrunning his odds of 50/1.

He was slightly outpaced in the crucial stages of the race last time out, suggesting he might not have the boot that some of the top 2 milers have, so this step back up to 2m3f will suit him here, a trip that he was running at over hurdles last season.

The ground conditions won’t be an issue as he seems to act on all grounds (With wins coming on heavy and good to soft this season). He looks to have the stamina in his locker and has been in fine fettle this season, so he could be the one to really serve it up to the Paul Nicholls horse in this.

Three-time winner this season and ran with a lot of credit last time out when finishing fourth in the Arkle at the Cheltenham festival, jumps well and all sort of conditions suit, as he steps back up in trip for the first time since his hurdle days. Will run well and could be the one to beat the Paul Nicholls charge.

Aintree - April 06 2022
Aintree 12:45
Rachael Blackmore

Gin On Lime

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
Age: 6
Weight: 10-11
OR: 148
Days: 146

Henry De Bromhead had another fantastic Cheltenham Festival in March when landing the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup once again, and he sends another horse over to the UK to try and raid another one of our Grade 1’s.

This horse being the only mare in the field gets the usual 7lb allowance in this, was last seen at Cheltenham in that famous two runner race against My Drogo last November, where both horses made big mistakes at the last, but Gin On Lime stayed up after sprawling to carry on up the hill and collect the prize money, with My Drogo unseating and being none the worse from the mistake.

It was confirmed that she was slightly lame after that race and did show it when pulling up with a slight limp, we haven’t seen her since so its hard to gauge if she has recovered from those excursions, but Henry De Bromhead is brilliant with his horses so he wouldn’t send her over should she not be fit and ready to go.

Prior to that Cheltenham success she was also a winner on seasonal debut at Tipperary landing a Grade 3 in the process, beating Fan De Blues by 12 lengths and another three wins before that.

She is another horse that was lightly raced over hurdles and has already doubled her tally since going over to the larger obstacles, with 5 wins in just 8 runs to her name already over fences.

She looks like a winning machine and if she is sound after that Cheltenham race then she could be very much the one to beat in this, with the usual 7lb mares’ allowance being a massive plus in the race, she looks slightly overlooked in the market being the current fourth favourite in the race.

Five-time winner over larger obstacles already in just eight races, lame after her last race which was almost 5 months ago so has the break to overcome against race fit horses, but she gets the 7lb mares’ allowance which could prove vital and is a winning machine over fences, should she have recovered after her slight setback from the last race.

Aintree - April 06 2022
Aintree 12:45
Charlie Hammond

Erne River

J: Charlie Hammond
T: Nick Kent
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 144
Days: 50

In what would be one of the stories of the season for the “smaller” connections would be Nick Kent’s Erne River who will look to land the three-timer over fences by taking this Grade 1 back home in the process.

He was a winner on Chasing debut at Doncaster in a class 3 contest in January when jumping well considering it was his first start over the larger obstacles, beating Beakstown by 6 lengths, before then going onto win in the good to soft conditions at Wetherby in February, absolutely hacking up to win by 13 lengths, staying on superbly all the way to the line to win going away.

He did jump left on occasions last time out, which might catch him out in a Grade 1 contest like this, but the field isn’t particularly a strong contest on paper, so that might not be such an issue.

Erne River has only contested in Class 3 contests since going over fences, as he takes the huge step up in class when running in this, but the way he won last time suggests he might be an improving type who could go well in these black type races.

He was very lightly raced over hurdles so being a chaser was always the plan from connections, so again that speaks volumes, with his trainer Nick Kent finding him a fantastic opportunity to run well in the highest Grade of contest in racing. Conditions will play in his favour so the hat-trick over fences could be on the cards for this son of Califet.

Unbeaten over fences this season when landing two races at Doncaster and Wetherby, was also a two-time winner over hurdles the season before, so currently on a four races unbeaten streak. Won with ease last time out so deserves to take the step up in class when contesting in this. Interesting runner who will be sure to go well in this.

Aintree - April 06 2022
Aintree 12:45
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

The Widdow Maker

J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T: Colin Tizzard
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 140
Days: 18

The second of two runners for Collin/Joe Tizzard look to be the one that is slightly up against it in this race, taking a huge step up in class to Grade 1 level.

He was a 5-length winner at Exeter on his chase debut in February, jumping really well whilst travelling quietly out the back, to then mount a challenge with three to jump before running away when going over the last. He then stayed in class 3 company when finishing second to Emir Sacree.

He didn’t jump very well last time and that does cause a slight concern when lining up in a race of this nature and was well beaten by just under 5 lengths last time out.

Chase debut winner at Exeter in February, but did slightly disappoint when not jumping with any fluency on his second start over fences, will need to improve on jumping to land a blow in this race, a contest that is at the highest level, something he is tackling for the first time in his career.