Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase Preview

Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase 14.25 Sandown
2m 4f 10 yards (Grade 1) (CLASS 1) (5yo+)

The live action on ITV4 this Saturday comes from Musselburgh, Wetherby and Sandown, and the big race of the day is the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at the latter track. This 2m 4f Grade 1 has been a happy hunting ground for favourite backers, with eight of the last ten jollies obliging.

Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have won it six times between them since 2007, and they are both represented in this year’s renewal. Nigel Twiston Davies won it last year with Bristol De Mai, but he has no entry this time around. Five go to post, and to find how we think this race will unfold just read below.

AMORE ALATO
Johnny Farrelly/Richard Johnson
Odds: 16/1 Bet365

This 8yo son of Winged Love is not only the oldest horse in the field, he is also the lowest rated. He has an official mark of just 137, and he has yet to taste success at the highest level. He has had 19 starts in his career under rules, and he has won 4 races, including a 24f listed chase on good ground here on his penultimate start. 3 miles seemed to stretch him last time, and 2m4f will suit much better.

He has also won on soft and good to soft ground, so the easy conditions at Sandown hold no fear for him. The booking of Richard Johnson is another big positive, and he has been on board for his last two wins. The fact remains that, if this was a handicap, he would be getting lots of weight from his rivals, and the first time cheekpieces will need to have a miraculous effect for him to win.

BARON ALCO
Gary Moore/Jamie Moore
Odds: 11/2 Betfair

This formerly smart hurdler has taken very well to chasing, and he has yet to finish out of the frame in four starts over the bigger obstacles. His run behind Whisper at Cheltenham (21f gd/sft) was a cracking effort, and he went one better at Plumpton last time (17f soft). This 6yo son of Dom Alco goes on any ground, and 2m 4f seems to be his optimum trip.

He is rated 143, and that leaves him with a fair bit to find with the principals. He has form at the track though, winning his hurdling debut here over 16f back in 2014. He likes to get on with things out in front, but so does Amore Alato, so he might not have it all his own way. However, he will struggle to concede 3lbs to the higher rated Clan Des Obeaux, and his odds of 5/1 with Paddy Power look a touch skinny.

LE PREZIEN
Paul Nicholls/Barry Geraghty
7/2 Odds:  Paddy Power

Paul Nicholls is a trainer with an excellent record in this race, and he fires two bullets at it this year. Le Prezien has some classy form in the book as a hurdler, and he has made a hugely promising start to his chasing career. He was narrowly beaten by Charbel on good ground on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter, but he has won both starts since.

He has placed form at Grade 1 level over timber, chasing home Yorkhill at Aintree (20f soft). He also managed to win a Grade 2 over hurdles, so this 6yo son of Blue Bresil obviously has quite an engine. His jumping was a bit sticky over the last couple when he won at Cheltenham (17f), but over 20f things should happen a bit easier for him. Barry Geraghty knows what it takes to win this race and, at 7/2 with Paddy Power, Le Prezien looks to hold a serious chance.

TOP NOTCH
Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob
Odds: 5/2 Boylesports

Simon Munir has won this race for the last two years with two different trainers. Bristol De Mai did the business last season, while the Willie Mullins’ trained Gitane Du Berlais won it for him in 2015. He is relying on Nicky Henderson to get the job done this year, and in Top Notch he has a serious contender. This 6yo son of Pogliote hit the crossbar in a couple of Grade 1s over hurdles, and he hasn’t looked back since finishing 3rd behind Le Prezien and Charbel at Uttoxeter back in October.

His jumping has improved with every run, and he will be looking to complete a 4 timer on Saturday. The worry has to be the trip of 20f on soft ground, as he was heavily beaten when he tried this trip on heavy over timber. If he stays he has every chance of hitting the frame, and he has the joint highest rating in the race at 152. However, his odds of 5/2 with Boylesports look a bit short for my liking and, given his stamina isn’t guaranteed on soft ground, he is passed over on this occasion.

CLAN DES OBEAUX
Paul Nicholls/Sean Bowen
Odds: 7/4 Skybet

The second representative from the Nicholls’ yard is this promising 5yo son of Kapgarde, and he gets a handy 3lb from the rest of the field. He is the joint highest rated in the race at 152, so on the figures he should win. He is the current market leader, and he has already won a Grade 2 over fences at Newbury (20f gd/sft). He hacked up by 10L that day, and he ran another good race at Cheltenham last time.

He was less than a length behind Whisper in that Grade 2 contest, but he was in receipt of 5lbs from him. Unlike most of his rivals on Saturday he was lightly raced over timber, and he was well beaten in the Triumph at the festival. However, his pedigree suggested he was going to make a better chaser, and that is how it has transpired. He stays the trip, he handles the ground and he is the best treated horse in the race. If he can put in a clear round he has to have a great shout, but the bookies are not taking any chances and he is 7/4 fav with Skybet.

CONCLUSION

Clan Des Obeaux is the favourite for this race, and he is the best treated horse in it. His odds of 7/4 look pretty short though, and at a bigger price perhaps Le Prezien could be the one for Paul Nicholls. He got in close to a couple last time at Cheltenham, but by and large his jumping was good. He will find it easier up in trip, and he could be the one to beat.

With Baron Alco and Amore Alato in the field, this is bound to be run at a searching pace. Stamina will be key, and we are not sure about Top Notch over this far on testing ground. The value lies with Le Prezien, and he is the suggestion in what should be a cracking race.

VERDICT: 1. LE PREZIEN 2. CLAN DES OBEAUX 3. BARON ALCO

 

DaveStevos is once of the most profitable racing tipsters on the internet and his horse racing tips have yielded an ROI of over 30%.