Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase – Our 1-2-3

File photo dated 05-02-2022 of L’Homme Presse ridden by jockey Charlie Deutsch goes onto win the Virgin Bet Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park. L’Homme Presse is much like a freshman university student – the raw ability needs honing. Yet any concerns about whether he can fulfil that massive potential diminished markedly at Sandown. Issue date: Thursday March 10, 2022.

A rare novice race in which the hosts hold the aces, the Brown Advisory Novice Chase looks to be one of the highlights on day two. Joe Napier has run through the runners for his 1-2-3 in the race.


Ahoy Senor

There is something so extremely likeable about AHOY SENOR. The fact he has tremendous ability certainly helps that.

Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox combined for a Grand National success in 2017, but in terms of horses competing at the top level, Ahoy Senor will take some beating. He was a 66/1 Grade 1 winner as a novice hurdler last season, but as a well-built individual, could well prove even better over fences.

He won by 31 lengths on just his second start at Newbury, that coming at Grade 2 level. His jumping, sometimes scruffy and skewiff, let him down at Kempton behind the more economical Bravemansgame, but he was back to his exuberant best at Wetherby last time.

He has ground to make up with Paul Nicholls’ burgeoning star, but there is every chance this boy has as much talent and has to be feared.


Beacon Edge

BEACON EDGE brings much more hurdling pedigree than any of his rivals here. That experience in open company could prove vital.

While he is only as experienced over fences as the rest of this field, he competed at a very high level over the smaller obstacles. He won the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle before finishing a cracking fourth in the Stayers’ Hurdle behind Flooring Porter.

Things did not immediately click over fences, as he was beaten on debut. However, after finding himself a mile back in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase next time out, he rallied remarkably gamely to overcome Arkle runner-up Gabynako on the run-in.

His jumping leaves a question mark, as he fell at the Dublin Racing Festival, but was conceding Farouk D’alene 7lb when the pair met at Navan last month and was only beaten ¾ lengths. He could play a big role, for all he may not have improved for chasing.


Bravemansgame

One would imagine Paul Nicholls will not be in the top level doldrums for long. The key to escape may be BRAVEMANSGAME.

While he did not quite make the grade at the top as a novice hurdler, he has looked a totally different proposition over fences, as his trainer hoped. He has won all four races convincingly while jumping like an old hand.

One of those was the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, in which he readily took apart the less fluent Ahoy Senor. Rather boldly, especially with the stable in a serious rut, Nicholls entered him in a novice handicap for his prep run at Newbury.

He belied a mark of 159 against some useful rivals to win comfortably and he looks almost certain to be bang there. His jumping will prove his key asset.


Capodanno

Unlike Bravemansgame, CAPODANNO will likely be an uncomfortable watch for those who have backed him.

He won despite a shuddering error at the second last on his chasing debut, which suggested a lot may be to come. Arguably a better effort came next time out, when a clear second to Bob Olinger at Punchestown.

However, the jumping came back to haunt him once more at Leopardstown when upped to Grade 1 company. He unseated early in a race won by stablemate Galopin Des Champs.

There is serious talent within this horse though. He won a handicap hurdle at the Punchestown Festival last season over three miles, so his stamina is relatively assured, and a clean round should see him involved.


Dusart

Nicky Henderson’s charge comes in flying under the radar. This left-handed track may be just what he is after too.

DUSART has raced right-handed on his two starts over fences, but has jumped so comically out to the right that it almost cost him the race on debut. He simply had too much ability for his rivals on the day, but this orientation should benefit him no end.

The levels he has had to reach to win are not particularly extreme though and he is the least experienced horse across all formats. That slight lack of racing knowhow could make this a bit of a shock for him.

Nevertheless, his yard think a fair bit of him and this sort of trip will be that at which he consistently performs. He could run into an each-way place.


Farouk D’alene

FAROUK D’ALENE should probably be a Grade 1 winner over fences, but the quest to put that right has him running here rather than the Grade 2 National Hunt Chase.

He was caught on the line in the Faugheen Novice Chase on Boxing Day, with the winner Master McShee franking the form since. He was only narrowly behind Stattler at Naas thereafter, but he did get a Grade 2 victory over Beacon Edge, albeit in receipt of 7lb, last month.

Overall, the measure of his form is that of a horse who stays. He can compete at the top level, but it was a weak Grade 1 in which he was a runner-up.

On balance, he has a fair bit to find here, especially as he is not likely to be the leading Irish hope.


Fury Road

Unlike his stablemate above, FURY ROAD is a Grade 1 winning chaser, after winning the Nevills Hotel Novice Chase at Leopardstown after Christmas.

That was his first chase victory after two narrow defeats. However, they came against good horses, while National Hunt Chase favourite Run WIld Fred was the horse in his wake at Leopardstown.

He was absolutely no match for Galopin Des Champs next time out and indeed his jumping let him down that day. A slacker tempo in this race will not go amiss for him and the increase in distance back to three miles will definitely suit.

Since March 2021, he has been anything but consistent though. That makes him very difficult to recommend, especially in the face of horses with better form.


Gaillard Du Mesnil

It may be a year ago now, but GAILLARD DU MESNIL was initially made favourite for last season’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle ahead of Bob Olinger.

He could finish only second that day before making amends at Grade 1 level at Punchestown. However, fences have proved much more of a hindrance to him than a help, and he has finished third on all three starts in this sphere.

He looked a little lifeless on his return at Naas when Capodanno overcame him, while he was even less of a match for Bob Olinger at Punchestown. There were signs of significantly better last time behind Galopin Des Champs, as without that stellar rival, he would have been beaten only five lengths in a Grade 1.

His revival is a gradual one and he could well improve again here, but he will need to an almighty amount to win.


L’Homme Presse

Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch have a proper Grade 1 horse with L’HOMME PRESSE.

He started the season in incredibly low key surroundings, winning a handicap at Exeter. However, he has readily improved since, following up at Ascot in a Graduation Chase.

In conjunction with the flying form of Williams’ yard, L’Homme Presse made his Graded level debut at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and duly won well, without being fully extended. If that was not enough, he stepped up to Grade 1 level and won by his greatest margin yet: 21 lengths in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

His aptitude for Cheltenham is known and he could be even better stepping up to three miles. He looks like he might be out of the very top drawer.


Streets Of Doyen

Last year’s Albert Bartlett third, STREETS OF DOYEN made a winning chase debut as far back as July.

However, since then, things have gone awry, including a refusal to race at Cheltenham back in November. He is very up against it on the balance of form, especially if he plays up again.


Threeunderthrufive

After defeat on his chase debut to Does He Know in October, THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE has had a very profitable season.

He has racked up four successive victories at four different tracks, one of them being Cheltenham, at which he won in November, overturning form with Does He Know. he has since stepped up and taken two Grade 2s for good measure.

The second of those came under a penalty at Warwick in january, but it was a dominant performance from the front. He has a slightly unorthodox method of running, but he has been smooth over his fences recently.

He does not have the same reputation as more vaunted stablemate Bravemansgame, but he has looked useful in his own right and could be involved.


Verdict

The top three in the market are British and this could be a race to savour at the Festival for the hosts. Bravemansgame has done so little wrong, but so has L’HOMME PRESSE, who may just be even better. Both have looked very assured jumpers, but there may be unknown levels to unlock with the latter over this trip. Neither Ahoy Senor or Capodanno have totally convinced with their jumping, but both have ability and can fight it out for third.

  1. L’Homme Presse
  2. Bravemansgame
  3. Capodanno