Last month's impressive Cheltenham winner Lalor is odds-on in Saturday's Henry VIII Novices' Chase betting, but he's not the best bet in the Sandown Grade 1.
First held in 1987, the Henry VIII Novices' Chase is a Grade 1 run at Sandown over just shy of 2m. It's worth £55,000 and, of late there has been a definite trend for younger horses winning.
Five-year-old’s have won the Henry VIII five times in the last seven years, and since 2005 four and five-year-old’s have accounted for 10 of the 12 winners (the race wasn’t held in 2010), from a representation of about 50%.
With no four-year-old’s engaged, it may pay to side with two of the three five-year-old’s entered with both representing leading stables.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Pacific De Baune (6/1 Bet365) was a useful hurdler, winning two of his four starts, though he was found wanting at Grade 2 level on heavy going at Cheltenham.
Following a defeat at Fakenham in April Pacific De Baune had wind surgery and returned with a victory at Warwick on his chasing debut. In reality, he had just one realistic rival in that three-runner affair, but he travelled well into the race with the only moment of worry coming when he hit the final fence while leading.
Paul Nicholls also has strong record having saddled the winner six times. His runner this time is the Dynamite Dollars (6/1 William Hill), who like Pacific De Baune, won twice over hurdles last season.
Dynamite Dollars made an impressive start to his chasing career when winning over 2m1f at Market Rasen on good going in October, a race in which he defeated the more experienced Highway One O One, who was a winner over fences on his previous start.
The form of that contest is working out well, with the runner-up going on to score at Carlisle last month, but the key form line is against the Henry VIII favourite Lalor at Cheltenham.
He proved no match for Lalor that day, going down by 7L, but a slight error two fences from home cost him vital ground and while it's unlikely that he’d have been beaten the impressive winner then, he remains open to improvement and the discrepancy in price between himself and his conqueror that day is too big to ignore.
The third five-year-old in the field is Grade 1 hurdle winner Defi Du Seuil (12/1 Ladbrokes), but given his poor chase debut effort behind both Lalor and Dynamite Dollars at Cheltenham last month he is overlooked at Sandown and looks up against it.
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