Monmiral Likely To Sidestep Sandown Grade One Due To Ground

James Mackie

Sandown Ground

Paul Nicholls has explained that he is likely to sidestep the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday on account of the ground with odds on favourite Jonbon also a potential non-runner.

A horse that was bought to go over fences, but he did show a lot of good form over hurdles, with his stand out run coming at Aintree last year when landing the Grade One Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.

Monmiral last season really took the whole term to find his form, running no race in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and National Spirit at Fontwell, but back at Aintree on his last run was a good second over 2m4f behind Epatante in the Aintree Hurdle.

Said to be schooling well and fully fit for his first outing of the season he went to Warwick and ran a credible race over fences but was no match for superstar Jonbon.

Set to take on the Nicky Henderson trained Grade One winner again at the weekend in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase, but it is up in the air whether the pair will turn up due to the ground.

(Credit ATR) “We’ll just see. I’m not too sure I want to take on Jonbon on good ground over two miles. He was very good at Warwick and he’s got lots of speed,” said Nicholls.

“If the ground had been testing I think it would have been a different story and I wouldn’t have been too worried about taking him on.

“I just think two miles on easy ground might not be ideal for Monmiral, so we might just wait for the Noel Novices’ Chase at Ascot over almost two and a half.

“We’ll make a plan on Thursday morning when we’ll see what is happening.”