Ladbrokes Novice Chase Guide 2022

Leopardstown - February 06 2022
Leopardstown 13:20
7
Paul Townend

Galopin Des Champs

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11-10
OR: N/A
Days: 40

Already a short priced favourite at the head of the betting despite his lack of experience over the larger obstacles, Galophin Des Champs holds star potential as a chaser.

Emerging last season as a novice hurdler and an absolute plot job by connections for the Martin Pipe at last year’s Cheltenham festival, he made a mockery of a mark of 142 to skip to a clear victory.

Moving up in trip and grade for the Punchestown Festival saw him take the transition to deeper waters easily and he won with bundles in hand on his first try at 3 miles. 

GDC has only been seen once since that run, making his chase debut over this track and trip back in late December - the 2nd has been beaten narrowly since and the 3rd has won a beginner’s chase so the form has worked out well enough.

Mullins’ 6 year old put 22 lengths between him and the 2nd placed runner in a gallant front running display. 

He jumps well and stays powerfully, if he gets in a nice rhythm up front he’s going to be hard to peg back. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
17/04/22FAI20Y11-101
17/03/22CHL20Sft11-4F
06/02/22LEO21.5Y11-101
28/12/21LEO21Y12-01
28/04/21PUN24Y11-111
Leopardstown - February 06 2022
Leopardstown 13:20
5
Jack Kennedy

Fury Road

J:
 
Jack Kennedy
T:
 
Gordon Elliott
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: N/A
Days: 39

A highly impressive novice hurdler for Gordon Elliott, Fury Road went agonisingly close in the 2020 Albert Bartlett only to be denied a neck by Monkfish.

He was was a smart type during his novice season over timber, notching grade 3 and grade 2 victories on his route to the Cheltenham Festival.

Poor showings at Cheltenham and Punchestown saw him pull up at both major festivals and he only managed one win throughout his first season in open company.

A switch to fences has seemingly breathed new life into the now 8 year old and he shaped very well on debut over the larger obstacles, only to be beaten by Gabynako over 2 miles and 5 furlongs.

Again beaten narrowly on his next start, things finally came together when upped to 3 miles where he took Grade 1 honours, beating Run Wild Fred at Leopardstown. 

A smart staying chaser, coming back in trip isn’t the logical move on paper and he might just lack a bit of pace to get involved over this shorter trip. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN24.5Gd/Y11-103
08/04/22AIN25GS11-42
06/02/22LEO21.5Y11-105
29/12/21LEO24Y11-121
28/11/21FAI20Gd11-123
Leopardstown - February 06 2022
Leopardstown 13:20
8
Ian Power

Master McShee

J:
 
Ian Power
T:
 
P Corkery
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 152
Days: 42

Last seen coming from the depths to catch Farouk D’alene on the line at Limerick in the Faugheen Novice Chase, Master McShee stayed on powerfully to get there in the nick of time under Ian Power. 

Only managing to win a maiden and a handicap over hurdles, he made a big impression when coming 2nd to Appreciate It on debut at mammoth odds. 

This season he’s been switched to fences and found himself truly in the deep end on debut as he faced Bob Olinger; not disgraced in 3rd, he was left for dead by the favourite for the Marsh but managed to handle a step up in grade last time out to nab a grade 1. 

The form wasn’t harmed when Farouk D’alene came 2nd to Stattler last week in a grade 3 event at Naas.

Maybe the grade 1 he won wasn’t the strongest and these deeper waters may find him out.  

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
12/03/22NAV16Sft11-122
06/02/22LEO21.5Y11-102
26/12/21LIM19.5Hy11-121
20/11/21GOW20Sft12-03
27/04/21PUN16.5Y11-7PU
Leopardstown - February 06 2022
Leopardstown 13:20
2
Mark Walsh

Capodanno

J:
 
Mark Walsh
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11-10
OR: N/A
Days: 21

Wearing the gold and green of J P McManus, Capodanno is another in here for Willie Mullins and this 6 year old kept a relatively low profile over hurdles; only winning a maiden before signing off the season with a devastating handicap win at Punchestown off a mark of 132.

They’ve decided to switch him to fences for this season and he was debuted over fences at Naas over 2.5 miles in December - a pleasing debut saw him beat odds on stablemate Gaillard Du Mesnil with relative ease.

Thrown into a grade 3 for his most recent outing, Capodanno faced off with Bob Olinger at Punchestown but wasn’t able to live with Henry De Bromhead’s superstar.

He certainly acquitted himself well however to only be beaten by less than 5 lengths. 

He stays 2.5 miles very well and his form looks smart enough behind Bob Olinger.

He’s still young and improving and could get himself right in the mix. 

Leopardstown - February 06 2022
Leopardstown 13:20
1
Sean Flanagan

Beacon Edge

J:
 
Sean Flanagan
T:
 
Noel Meade
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 152
Days: 70

This 8 year old looked like he could be something special over hurdles for Noel Meade having finished just behind Honeysuckle in the 2020 Hattons Grace hurdle. 

He just managed to get the better of Fury Road to secure a grade 2 win on bottomless ground at Navan before stepping up in trip to take on the Stayer’s Hurdle at Cheltenham - a belting run saw him come 4th and only beaten 5 lengths.

To try and eek some more improvement out of him at 8-years-old he’s been sent chasing and appears to have taken to it well.

Coming 2nd on debut, he may have just needed the run as he came on leaps and bounds for that to win the Drinmore Novice chase on his latest outing.

Beating a smart field despite being hampered by a faller, he again showed good stamina and just how well he stays over 2.5 miles. 

A grade 1 win in the books and versatile for ground, he might be a touch overpriced. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN24.5Gd/Y11-10PU
16/03/22CHL24.5Sft11-47
22/02/22NAV24Hy11-102
06/02/22LEO21.5Y11-10F
28/11/21FAI20Gd11-121
Leopardstown - February 06 2022
Leopardstown 13:20
6
B J Cooper

Gaillard Du Mesnil

J:
 
B J Cooper
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11-10
OR: N/A
Days: 21

Willie Mullins’ 6 year old had a brilliant novice hurdle campaign last season, winning his maiden in fine fashion before going on to score a grade 1 novice hurdle at this meeting. 

He was unable to live with Bob Olinger in the Ballymore but stayed out stoutly for 2nd.

He subsequently gained compensation for that defeat when winning the grade 1 intermediate distance hurdle at Punchestown to round out his campaign.

Things haven’t quite clicked into place for him over fences however and he was easily brushed aside by Capodanno on chase debut- when last seen in a grade 3 behind Bob Olinger and Capodanno, he was beaten even further. 

He just doesn’t look the same prospect as a chaser and is probably best left alone until he finds his feet over the bigger obstacles.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/04/22FAI29Y11-83
16/03/22CHL24.5Sft11-43
06/02/22LEO21.5Y11-103
16/01/22PUN20Sft11-33
16/12/21NAA19Y12-03
Leopardstown - February 06 2022
Leopardstown 13:20
4
Darragh O'Keeffe

French Dynamite

J:
 
Darragh O'Keeffe
T:
 
M F Morris
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: N/A
Days: 85

Mouse Morris’ 7 year old, French Dynamite, spent 2 seasons over hurdles but failed to land any races of note in either. 

Winning only: his maiden, a novice and then a 3 runner conditions event, he struggled to acquit himself when moved up in grade - he did run well in defeat multiple times but just seemed to lack the quality to win a decent pot. 

Connections looking to reinvigorate him have switched him to fences where he debuted in a grade 3 race; however he ultimately found that a little too hot on debut, only managing a 5th placed finish.

With some experience in the books he managed to get off the mark at the second time of asking as a chaser, easily winning at Punchestown, where his jumping looked a real weapon, barely breaking a sweat, cruising to victory.

He struggled at this grade as a hurdler but jumped superbly well last time out, making him no longer unreasonable to make a case for - maybe out of his depth in a grade 1 of this standard however.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
19/03/22THU18Gd11-21
06/02/22LEO21.5Y11-106
13/11/21PUN19.5Y12-01
31/10/21COR20Hy11-25
29/04/21PUN24Y11-124
Leopardstown - February 06 2022
Leopardstown 13:20
3
Sean O'Keeffe

Fighter Allen

J:
 
Sean O'Keeffe
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: N/A
Days: 57

The final runner in the Mullins’ string, Fighter Allen, has only had one start over fences so far and had a difficult start as he faced off against subsequent grade 3 winner Stattler. 

Only able to win a maiden over hurdles despite being tried in a few graded contests, he simply looked like he didn’t have the quality to play a major role in better races, and even struggled in handicaps towards the end of his novice season over timber.

Coming back to racing last December as a chaser, he was unable to go with Stattler from the back of the last, as his rivals superior stamina kicked in late.

Having said this, Fighter Allen had pulled 9 lengths clear of 3rd and the rest came home in single file.

The form has worked out well with Stattler going on to win a grade 3, albeit whilst appearing to be in a different league to Fighter Allen at Fairyhouse.

Talented over fences he’ll be more effective in lower grades. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
10/04/22TRM21.5Y11-01
06/02/22LEO21.5Y11-104
11/12/21FAI21Y/Sft12-02
28/04/21PUN20.5Y12-07
03/04/21FAI24Y11-713

Andy Smith | @AndySmithRacing

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