Sandown’s Henry VIII Chase is named after England’s infamous 16th century monarch who used Esher, where the racecourse is located, as a hunting ground.
The race itself was first run in 1987 and see’s young chasing hopefuls test themselves over Sandown’s difficult fences. At just under 2 miles, mistakes can be costly. The list of former winners is an impressive one and includes favourites such as Racing Demon, Fair Along, Somersby and Altior.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 7th December 2019
- Winner: Esprit Du Large
- SP: 14/1
- Trainer: Evan Williams
- Jockey: Adam Wedge
1m7½f is the trip for this Grade 1 Novices’ Chase which offers £55,000 in guaranteed prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as good to soft and we should be in for a decent day on Saturday in terms of the weather.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good To Soft||1m7½f||Grade 1||£55,000||8 Runners||1/4 1-2|
Henry VIII Novices' Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Paul Nicholls has been the man to beat in this contest, with the 11-time Champion Trainer sending out the winner on a record seven occasions, including four times in the past eight years alone. Nicholls sends just the one to post this year in the shape of the five year old, Grand Sancy and he certainly can’t be ruled out.
It is in fact the five year olds who have fared best here in recent times having come home in front in seven of the past nine editions. In addition to Grand Sancy, Nube Negra and Esprit Du Large also fall into that age bracket this time around and all three will certainly have their backers.
We have had three successful market leaders in the race since 2009, which isn’t too bad a strike rate, but with each of those winners returning an odds-on SP, blindly backing the favourite would still have resulted in a level stakes loss of 5.78 points. Should we backing the favourite this time around or not? Let’s take a closer look at some of the chief contenders.
TORPILLO – 2/1
Nigel Twiston-Davies is yet to win this, but he would look to have solid claims of changing that in 2019, as it is his four year old, Torpillo, who currently heads the betting. Going in the famous two-tone green of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, this one is two from three in the current season and - as the only four year old in the field – receives weight from all bar the mare, Maire Banrigh.
If we factor in that weight allowance, Torpillo actually comes out as the joint top-rated runner in the field, and certainly made a most favourable impression on chase debut at Warwick last time out. Doing all his own donkey work out in front, he jumped with real aplomb that day - other than when very slightly awkward at the last - and really impressed with the manner in which he powered right away from the talented Mr Fisher. Seeming to be a horse of some potential, he looks well worth a tilt at this prize and is rightly the favourite in our eyes.
NUBE NEGRA – 11/4
Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra was no slouch over hurdles having finished placed in Graded company, but already looks to be a significantly better performer since being sent chasing at the start of the current campaign.
Catching the eye when an easy three length winner in a Class 4 event at Warwick, he then made even more of an impression when responding to the step up to Class 3 company with a 10-length demolition job at Fakenham. Whilst it’s still early days, the five year old looks a true natural over the larger obstacles - a trait which will likely serve him well in a field of inexperienced chasers.
SUMMERVILLE BOY –10/3
Next in the betting comes the 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner, Summerville Boy. This Tom George runner looked to be a horse really going places on the back of what was a hugely impressive success at the Cheltenham Festival, but it would be safe to say that things haven’t quite gone to plan. Injuries have played their part, but the fact remains that he has failed to even finish in the first three in his four subsequent starts over hurdles.
Having seemingly gone off the boil over the smaller obstacles, it really wasn’t too much of a surprise to see him sent chasing this term, and he wasted no time in returning to the winner’s enclosure. Whilst his jumping was by no means foot perfect in that chase debut at Uttoxeter, to comprehensively see off soft-ground specialist First Flow was still an admirable feat, and went some way to confirming that his old ability still remains.
GRAND SANCY – 4/1
Hailing from the yard of Paul Nicholls, this five year old son of Diamond Boy will likely be the choice of trends fans, despite this being his first start over fences. Hailing from the yard he does though, he will no doubt be extremely well schooled, and most likely wouldn’t be plunged into such deep waters were he not showing plenty at home.
In addition, if judged purely on his hurdling ability he doesn’t look out of place in this line up by any means. A winner at Listed and Grade 2 level, and a narrow second in the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at this track in January, he is fit and well from two hurdle outings in the current campaign, and confirmed himself to be on good terms with himself when second to the highly rated Fusil Raffles last time out at Wincanton.
MAIRE BANRIGH – 9/2
The only mare in the field, Maire Banrigh, is a little way off the best of these according to the official handicapper, but does have the 7lbs mare’s allowance to help in that regard, and has made a hugely promising start to her career over fences.
A perfect two from two over the larger obstacles headed into the race, she arrives on a four race winning streak if her hurdling efforts are also taken into consideration. A 15-length winner on chase debut at Stratford in October, the form of her most recent success at Warwick also reads particularly well. The winning margin may have only been one length that day, but considering the second placed runner, Thomas Darby, also filled that same position in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the form looks solid.
Henry VIII Novices' Chase Winners
|2019||Esprit Du Large||14/1||Evan Williams||Adam Wedge|
|2018||Dynamite Dollars||9/2||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden|
|2017||Sceau Royal||11/1||Alan King||Daryl Jacob|
|2016||Altior||2/7||Nicky Henderson||Noel Fehily|
|2015||Ar Mad||14/1||Gary Moore||Joshua Moore|
|2014||Vibrato Valtat||5/1||Paul Nicholls||Noel Fehily|
|2013||Hinterland||13/2||Paul Nicholls||Daryl Jacob|
|2012||Captain Conan||4/7||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2011||Al Ferof||4/11||Paul Nicholls||Ruby Walsh|
|2010||Race abandoned due to snow|
About the Henry VIII Novices Chase: Rising Stars on Show at Sandown
December is a big month for National Hunt racing, as the latest season really begins to find its stride. As one of the top dual-purpose tracks in the sport, Sandown Park does its bit for the jumping side of the game at this time each year, with the staging of what is just about its biggest National Hunt card of the season. Chief amongst the supporting cast on the always popular Tingle Creek Chase Day is this high-class event for the up and coming novice chasers.
First run in 1987, the event takes its name from one of Britain’s most infamous monarchs – not due to Henry VIII’s love of racing, but as a nod to the fact that “he of the six wives” utilised the Esher venue as a royal hunting ground during his reign.
Initially a Grade 2 event, a steady stream of high-quality winners – including Grade 1 stars Direct Route, Thisthatandtother and Contraband – led to this two mile contest, which is open to novice chasers aged four and older, being handed Grade 1 status for the first time in 2011.
Super Seven For Nicholls
In common with many Grade 1 contests over the course of the British season, it is the name of Paul Nicholls which sits atop the trainers table in this race. First successful in 2003 with Thisthatandtother, by 2018 Nicholls had racked up seven wins. The pick of that septet being 2011 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle champ, Al Ferof. In addition to his win in this race, the ever-popular grey went on to land the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and achieve the not inconsiderable feat of finishing third in three successive King George VI Chase’s at Kempton.
Awesome Altior Top Of The Class
Nicholls’ big rival Nicky Henderson may be three behind when it comes to number of wins in the race, but there’s no doubt that it is the Lambourn handler who is responsible for saddling the most talented winner in the history of the event: The mighty Altior. One of the highest-class chasers of the modern era, Altior stormed to a six length success in this race in 2016, before going on to a further eight (and counting) Grade 1 triumphs, including an Arkle Chase and two Queen Mother Champion Chases.
Big Names Out in Front
Seven jockeys in all have recorded multiple wins in this event as of 2019, with the above table containing some of the most talented and successful riders to ever climb into the saddle.
The greatest of all time Sir Tony McCoy of course needs little introduction. With three of his record-setting total of 4,348 career victories coming in this race, it is he who leads the way, alongside the rider who is fifth in that all-time career wins list: Richard Dunwoody. One victory behind that duo, and in a five way tie for second, is the third best rider of all time in terms of number of wins, and one of the most naturally gifted riders of his generation: Ruby Walsh.