• Hands Heels

Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (Grade One)

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

13:55 Cheltenham 17/03

What can we say about Monkfish? What a phenomenal horse, we are lucky to have him at the same time as Envoi Allen, these are what the festival and all the build up should be focussing on. The talent and ability of two generational horses, not Gordon Elliott. I think Monkfish wins here, there’s nothing that concerns me regarding him for this. Last years Albert Bartlett winner, even better over fences, rattling off three wins with two coming in Grade One races. But it’s not just the races he has won, it’s the style in which he does it, no nonsense just perfect jumping and a deceivingly quick turn of foot to put the race to bed. I will be backing Monkfish both on his own and in a few multiples nearer the time. One double I will be placing now is him and Envoi Allen for the Marsh, I just can’t see either being beaten.

Next in the Market is Royal Pagaille but connections seem more likely to head to the Gold Cup and so they should, even if they had a change of heart they more likely would head to the National Hunt anyway to avoid Monkfish here.

After that we’re already at double figure prices, Eklat De Rire who is Generally 10/1. Last time out winning a Grade Three novices race bearing Escaria Ten, the concern for me is that she has seemingly missed a clash with Monkfish and not ran in any of the big grade one chases in Ireland. I don’t think she beats Monkfish from what we’ve seen, she’s only ever run on soft or heavy ground and with Cheltenham seemingly looking more and more likely to be good to soft, the unknown is enough for me to look elsewhere. Next up we have The Big Breakaway who got his chasing career of to a great start winning a four runner class two chase by 10 lengths. Since then however he disappointed at 2/9 odds on, being beaten by Bold Plan who had done nothing before and nothing since! Even if we were to forgive that for being over too short a trip, they then stepped back up to three miles where they were then beaten by Shan Blue. Shan Blue isn’t the worst horse in the world but was beaten by Sporting John despite seemingly having the race sewn up a long way out. To have any chance of getting near a Monkfish, you would have to be beating these sorts of Horses. Without Monkfish we’d have a Latest Exhibition as favourite, he would be a 4 time grade one winner as opposed to only having one to his name! Connections must be sick of seeing the back of Monkfish and you wouldn’t begrudge them heading elsewhere. For me though, the Marsh would be too short and Envoi Allen is not an easier task anyway, and the National Hunt Chase would take a lot out of him and definitely a less prestigious race. It’s a no brainier in my eyes, I would run him in this race these are horses after all and not Machines anything could happen on the day and a second could quickly become a first of Monkfish were to fall or run below par! With him I will wait and see where he ends up and may have an each way go on him on the day. From the rest of the market there is only one who would interest me, and that’s Next Destination. Ex Willie Mullins, he won two grade ones for him before moving to Paul Nichols. His reappearance was second in a grade two, possibly disappointing on the face of it, but the winner of that Race was Roksana! He has then gone on to win a pair of grade two novice chases, what he’s beaten is nothing much but as the saying goes ‘you can only beat what’s in front of you’. I’ll wait and see where this horse goes as well as there’s been talk of the National Hunt, but on the day again I may have an each way poke to fill one of the places. Boring I know picking out the short priced favourite, but if anyone can tell me how he gets beaten bar a fall then please let me know!

EDIT - With a lot of runners heading elsewhere I'll also back Sporting John here NRNB as I can see there being not so many runners. He needed every yard last time and the trip will suit. I hope he can stay on into a place at 12/1

Selections -

Monkfish 8/11 2pt win single 2.11/1 1pt double with Envoi Allen (Marsh)

Sporting John 12/1 each way three places 0.5pts each way

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