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Will Chantry House kick on from excellent surge last season?

Chantry House is developing into one of the top horses on the National Hunt circuit and will certainly be one to watch for the 2021/22 campaign all the way through to Cheltenham Festival.

Nicky Henderson’s charge won four out of his five races last season, including the Marsh Novices’ Chase at 2021 Cheltenham Festival. He had been beaten by his stable-mate Shishkin in his last outing at the Festival in 2020 in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. However, he produced his best in 2021 to develop into one of the emerging horses on the circuit.

Chantry House will get the chance to test his mettle against the leading operators in the chase field in the Lancashire Chase to kick off the Grade One season at Haydock Park in November. The seven-year-old is backed in the latest horse racing odds at 12/1 as an outsider for the crown, but he does have the quality to press his more experienced rivals should he maintain his form from the end of last term.

After a lengthy break after his defeat at the hands of Shishkin at Cheltenham in 2020, Chantry House returned to action at Ascot in a novice chase event against a limited field. He was the overwhelming favorite for the win and duly delivered to beat his nearest rival Up The Straight by 26 lengths. However, Henderson’s charge then suffered a massive setback with a hugely disappointing outing in the Jockey Club Cheltenham And SW Syndicate Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham last December. He failed to deliver with Nico de Boinville in the saddle, finishing third out of four competitors and well off the pace of his stable-mate Fusil Raffles, who won the contest.

Despite his poor outing, there was confidence in Chantry House to return to his best at Wetherby and he duly rose to the occasion to produce a sublime performance to see off Coconut Splash. All eyes were on Cheltenham Festival and the talented Envoi Allen in the Marsh Novices’ Chase. Chantry House was an outsider for the crown, but after the race favorite fell in the contest, Henderson’s charge capitalised and claimed a battling victory after losing his right shoe. The seven-year-old re-established himself in his own yard in the process, beating out Fusil Raffles by three lengths.

Chantry House was not finished after his Cheltenham Festival triumph. Henderson put his charge forward in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree Festival where he once again excelled on the track. His performance was nothing other than sensational, hammering the rest of the field as he finished 32 lengths ahead of his nearest rival Shan Blue. The result was a statement of intent from Chantry House and proved that he is capable of taking his game to the next level.

The Lancashire Chase will provide an indicator of whether Chantry House can compete for the major honours this season. He will face a stiff level of competition from horses of the ilk of A Plus Tard, Clan Des Obeaux and Bristol De Mai. If Henderson’s charge can compete with those horses then he will be well placed in the short term and the long term for runs at the top titles in the sport.

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