Nicky Henderson said he was feeling proud of the progress he has seen from dual Grade 1 winner Chantry House in recent weeks as he nears a racecourse return and the opportunity to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The eight-year-old could be one of four representatives for Henderson in the £250,000 Coral Gold Cup at Newbury on November 26. Stablemate Dusart tops the betting with the sponsors at 8-1 along with Corach Rambler.
Yet the trainer is particular hopeful that Chantry House is ready for a big season. As a novice he won at the 2021 Cheltenham and Aintree festivals but he did not quite match expectations last season.
Although he was successful in the two-runner Future Stars at Sandown in November and also as an odds-on shot in the Cotswold Chase, he failed when it mattered most when pulled up in the King George, when sent off favourite, and in the Gold Cup.
‘I’m not aiming at the King George’
JP McManus’s son of Yeats has since had surgery on his wind and back and is in line to make his handicap debut, for which he is 20-1.
“I’m very proud of this horse at the moment and I hope I’m right,” Henderson said. “He looked good at Sandown in his intermediate chase and he won the Cotswold but the King George wasn’t a good track for him I must admit.
“We’ve played with his wind and operated on his back. If I’ve got all these things right we’ll be in good shape. Newbury is a potential starting point because I can’t see anywhere else to go. He didn’t like Kempton last year so I’m not aiming at the King George. He’s in great form and I’m very pleased with him.”
Henderson has won Britain’s second richest handicap chase on three occasions, most recently in 2013 with Triolo D’Alene, and top contender Dusart is reportedly on track for the race.
He won three from four last season and capped the campaign off with a brave win in Ayr’s hotly contested novice handicap chase at the Scottish Grand National meeting in April.
Henderson said: “We’re all in good order with him. There’s work to do but we’ve got time to come so he’s very much a possible runner. He’s been racing in novice chases and you’re always going to find small fields – it’s the way of the world.”
Mister Coffey, a 33-1 chance, and 50-1 outsider Diablo De Rouhet could also line up, and Henderson added: “I think three miles left-handed will suit Mister Coffey well. We’ll have to see with the weather because at the moment there’s no ground. We’re ready to go.
“Diablo De Rouhet is a progressive chaser and he might sneak into the bottom [of the weights].”
Courtesy of Racing Post