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Gold Cup hopeful Chantry House leads Nicky Henderson’s foursome in Cheltenham and Doncaster

Gold Cup hopeful Chantry House leads Nicky Henderson’s powerful quartet as trainer looks set to extend golden run at Cheltenham and Doncaster

  • Chantry House is the bookmakers’ favorite in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase
  • Nicky Henderson’s Champ and Balco Coastal also in action in Cheltenham
  • Henderson-trained Fusil Raffles is the favorite in Doncaster’s Sky Bet Chase
  • Trainer is in shape since Boxing Day wins



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Gold Cup aspiring Chantry House (Cheltenham, 2.30) leads Nicky Henderson’s assault on Saturday’s big races, as the eight-year-old tries to get his season back on track in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase.

The Seven Barrows trainer also saddles up two other popular favorites in Champ, at the Chapel Stud Cleeve Hurdle in Prestbury Park, and Fusil Raffles, at Doncaster’s Sky Bet Chase, as he aims to continue a golden run since Boxing Day, which has delivered wins for some of its stable stars.

A powerful quartet is completed by Balco Coastal, who will strive to improve on his festival credentials in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, and the win for the six-year-old could be a day to forget for the layers.

Chantry House is the pick of the pitch in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase on Saturday

Chantry House is the pick of the pitch in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase on Saturday

Perhaps, though, it’s Chantry House that has more to prove, even if this afternoon’s stay isn’t as in-depth as some of the previous revamps.

The winner of last season’s Marsh Novices Chase, who was well backed to launch a major attack on the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, failed to fire and was withdrawn after an attempt riddled with errors .

Not finding a rhythm at his gates and traveling with any fluency was unsettling for a second season fighter looking to build a compelling case as a potential Gold Cup winner.

The eight-year-old won the Marsh Novices' Chase at Cheltenham last season

The eight-year-old won the Marsh Novices' Chase at Cheltenham last season

The eight-year-old won the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham last season

Chantry House was one of the favorites at the King George in Kempton on Boxing Day, but was withdrawn after a disappointing performance

Chantry House was one of the favorites at the King George in Kempton on Boxing Day, but was withdrawn after a disappointing performance

Chantry House was one of the favorites at the King George in Kempton on Boxing Day, but was withdrawn after a disappointing performance

However, every horse should get an off day and the pace of this afternoon’s event should be a lot smoother than the ferocious early gallop Minella Indo and Frodon put on Boxing Day.

Chantry House should also be happier returning to Cheltenham, where he posted one of his best career attempts in the spring, and a return to better ground could be a help, given that he’s dismantled Aye Right and Simply The Betts, who has his stamina to prove at today’s distance.

Henderson reaches for the cheek pads to focus his talented star’s mind, and if they help him get his mojo back, he should really go very close to restoring his reputation.

Nicky Henderson involved three more horses in tent races on Saturday afternoon

Nicky Henderson involved three more horses in tent races on Saturday afternoon

Nicky Henderson involved three more horses in tent races on Saturday afternoon

Half an hour later, Champ will have his short odds to cement his position at the head of the Stayers Hurdle betting when he tackles just four rivals in the Cleeve.

With Klassical Dream going bad on Thursday, Champ rose to favoritism for the permanent position within six weeks and a repeat of his Long Walk Hurdle success at a track he likes would certainly be enough to see him complement that first-degree win.

Meanwhile, former Newmarket coach Mick Ryan, who saddled Katies to win the Irish 1,000 Guineas in 1984, passed away Thursday night at the age of 80.

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