Scilly Isles Novices' Chase Guide 2022

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 14:20
Charlie Deutsch

L'Homme Presse

J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Venetia Williams
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 154
Days: 35

The Venetia Williams team are in top form this season, as they currently operate at an impressive 24%-win strike rate for the last 14 days, and the favourite for this weekend’s Grade One Scilly Isles Chase has contributed towards that good from this season.

Already a three-time winner this season, including the Grade Two Dipper Chase to his name at Cheltenham last time out, this lightly raced novice chaser looks one of the leading Novice Chasers of the season for us in the UK, only having the seven rules starts, four of them resulting in him getting past the post in front.

He was campaigned very lightly over hurdles, obviously going over the larger obstacles was always at the forefront of connections thinking, and that was a brilliant decision made by them.

L’Homme Presse has won all three of his chasing starts by a combined 29 lengths, and his win in the Dipper last time out at Cheltenham was arguably a career best, making all and not touching a twig when jumping.

He was clearly to much for his other rivals that day as when he was pushed along, he responded superbly and flew up the Cheltenham hill, something a lot of horses cannot accomplish, with that form being franked by Fantastikas winning next time out.

He looks superb over fences, and if he is given an easy time of things, he could take home his first career Grade One, before heading onto bigger and better things later on this season.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 14:20
Harry Cobden

Pic D'Orhy

J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 155
Days: 50

The most experienced horse who has run over the larger obstacles the most in his career, with seven chase starts to his name already, two of them resulting in winning performances.

The Paul Nicholls charge was absolutely electric last time out after an unlucky fall the time before, winning the Grade 2 Howden Noel Novices chase at Ascot, jumping well before surging up the home straight to win going away by 9 lengths, looking like a potential Grade 1 winner in the making.

The form however hasn’t been franked since with a few in behind running and not winning since, so the form of that Grade 2 at Ascot is questionable, but he was streets ahead talent wise to the others so was clearly the best horse in the field by some way.

He will relish the test L’Homme Presse will make, with the step up to 2m4f not being an issue as he has won over fences at this trip before. If his jumping holds up, he could play a big part in the finish, but the slight concern is he is already a two-time faller early on into his young chasing career so that might leave a slight sour taste in the mouth.

But he could be a big threat to the favourite as he is clearly talented, Paul Nicholls will get him more than ready for this race come Saturday.

Two-time winner over fences in just seven career runs, Grade 2 winner at Ascot last time out with that being his best career performance to date over the larger obstacles, will relish the test the favourite will make it.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 14:20
Nico de Boinville

Mister Coffey

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 137
Days: 41

The only horse in the race who hasn’t won over fences, with only two runs to his name, however he was talked up a lot by his trainer Nicky Henderson before the season started, stating he is an exciting horse to keep an eye on since being put over fences.

His two runs this season haven’t been too bad, he was 3rd behind Not Available and Solo on his chase debut at Newbury last November and ran 2nd behind Jacamar at Kempton on boxing day, who was the more experienced runner in the filed that day, something that reads well with Mister Coffey, who will get better and better with the more experience he gains.

He does look like a chaser in the making however, having just bumped into one or two fairly useful rivals on his two runs this season, jumping quite well for the most time, but does hang slightly left on a few occasions, even when jumping, so he will need to brush up on that if he is to land a blow in this top graded race, against some classy sorts.

His trainer is in top form this season however, currently operating at a 23%-win strike rate for the last two weeks, plus some big races to their names already this season.

Hasn’t won over fences yet in just two runs, but his trainer talks highly of the horse and has stated he will be a classy chaser, plus being put in this race in just his third chasing start speaks volumes of what they think of him.

Could land a blow in this but will need to jump slightly better.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 14:20
Nick Scholfield


J: Nick Scholfield
T: Richard Hobson
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 135
Days: 28

The horse with the second-best chasing record in the race, having only three starts over fences he has won on two occasions, including a very nice performance at Newcastle last time out beating a progressive Donald McCain horse who was in top form at the time.

Richard Hobson doesn’t run many horses in these sorts of races, so that’s something to take note and he has one of the more in form horses coming into the race.

One slight concern was his second run over the larger obstacles, he made quite a few mistakes and was eventually pulled up with three left to jump, so can’t afford to make any mistakes like that in this contest with some top prospects, but he is clearly thriving at the moment, tackling the step up in trip to 2m4f for the first time in his career.

Two-time chase winner this season already, including a 3 and a quarter length winner at Newcastle last time out beating a progressive horse for an inform yard, will need to remove his mistakes from the run before so could go well in this.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 14:20
Chester Williams

Gladiateur Allen

J: Chester Williams
T: Mrs Jane Williams
Age: 6
Weight: 11-4
OR: 135
Days: 35

The Jane Williams mount was quite impressive on Chase debut at Exeter back in December of last year, beating Elixir De Nutz who has since come out of that race and won, also Adrimel who was pulled up on that occasion has since won also, and was going to line up in this, which speaks volumes of what his yard thinks of him.

Gladiateur Allen has disappointed since his chasing debut, although running in some class of races, both being Grade 2’s behind some of these opponents today, the form figures read 4 (Out of 5 runners) and Falling (When not really looking like he would challenge).

He reopposes with L’Homme Presse (Which he met in the Dipper last time out when falling) and Pic D’Orhy (Which he finished 29 lengths behind in the Grade 2 at Ascot) and does look slightly up against it, but has won over fences before so anything could happen in this, but it looks unlikely with the three main protagonists looking the likely biggest improvers going into this.

Winner on Chase debut last December but has since run very disappointing against two of these, will have to step up massively to win this. Best watched in this top graded race.

Jake Russell | @JakeRuss1000