Horse RacingJump Racing

Nicky Henderson: “We hope to go to the Cheltenham Gold Cup with him”

January 28, 2022March 11th, 2022

CHELTENHAM

2:30 G2 Cotswold Chase

Chantry House (Nico De Boinville)

There’s no denying he was disappointing in the King George but in hindsight it was probably the wrong track to run him at because he was always in top gear and it was his first start in open company against experienced chasers, and everything happened too quickly, but he’ll obviously be much happier back on this stiff course and the cheek pieces will hopefully help him to travel with more fluency. The Gold Cup is where we want to go so he’ll need to put up a good performance for that to remain our objective.

 

3:05 G2 Cleeve Hurdle

Champ (Jonjo O’Neill Jnr)

It was fantastic to see the real Champ right back to his very best at Ascot last time and I think he’s telling us that he’s much happier over hurdles so we’ll remain down the Stayers’ Hurdle route and I have to say I’m particularly pleased with his well being coming into this. He’s worked well and schooled well and I’m looking forward to running him.

 

3:40 G2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

Balco Coastal (Nico De Boinville)

He’s always shown us plenty at home and is improving all the time. We’ve deliberately taken it step by step with him and this is obviously another rise up the ladder but he deserves to be there and the form of his win at Ludlow has worked out very well. He’s been asking to go up in trip, although that’s not to say he’s slow – he’s a quicker person than I Am Maximus who has close form with Hillcrest, and I was rather hoping he’d go to Doncaster for the River Don but I can understand why they’re coming here instead for the ground. He’ll be a tough nut to crack and I hear Donald McCain is very sweet on his horse as well, so it’s going to be a good race, but Balco Coastal has lots of talent and is very exciting.

 

DONCASTER

3:20 Listed H’cap Chase

Fusil Raffles (James Bowen)

We were looking at going to Cheltenham but he would have ended up with top weight there and I have been very keen to step him back up to thee miles because 2m4f is just a little too sharp nowadays. He has to have good ground so I’ll be keeping an eye on what’s happening up there but James has done plenty of schooling on him so knows him well and he worked well earlier in the week. There are 17 runners so it’s obviously an extremely competitive race but he goes there in good shape and has a very serious chance.

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Janika (Mr Ben Bromley)

It’s been a long time between drinks but he wasn’t disgraced at Cheltenham last time and is coming down to a very attractive mark. Ben’s 7lbs claim is an added bonus and this is his first run at this trip over fences. (He ran once over three miles over hurdles at Aintree last April) The Kim Muir is where we want to end up.

Unibet’s 15 To Go offer will be live on this race. Free bet up to £20 for backing the winner. Opt-in required. Terms apply.

 

3:55 Bumper

Bold Reaction (James Bowen)

He’s a very nice horse who is particularly well bred and has been showing me all the right signs at home. I wouldn’t want to run him on quick ground, so I’ll see how it is today, but we like him a lot and he should go very well.