Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices' Chase
Grade 1, Sandown 13:45
£80,000 guaranteed,
4yo plus,
1m 7f 119y, Class 1  
Saturday 3rd December 2022

1 Jonbon 2/11F
2 Boothill 9/2
3 Unexpected Party 22/1
4 ran Distances: 8l, 16l, 7l
Time: 3m 59.30s (slow by 8.30s)

An impressive victory gave Nicky Henderson’s Jonbon a first Grade One success over fences to add to his top-table victory over hurdles at Aintree last season and was the perfect way to build on a taking fencing debut at Warwick last month. 

On that occasion, the full-brother to Douvan put Monmiral to the sword with an exhibition of galloping and jumping and it was a similar scenario here as Aidan Coleman bounced out and made the running on the 2-11 favourite. 

It was a case of marvelling at the sure-footed way Jonbon went from A to B for the early part of the race as 9-2 second-favourite Boothill was content to follow the Seven Barrows star as he navigated the famous Railway fences in textbook fashion. 

Coleman was still to ask any questions landing over the Pond Fence with two to jump and it was at this point Boothill was persuaded by Johnny Burke to close the gap to the front-running favourite. 

But there was hardly a moment of worry for the JP McManus-owned gelding who put the race to bed with a phenomenal leap at the last before accelerating to the line to take his race record to seven from eight, and leaving Constitution Hill as the only horse to have lowered his colours.

The victory strengthened his position as favourite for the Sporting Life Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March, with Coral, Betfair and Paddy Power all making Jonbon the 7-4 market leader from 2-1. 


Henderson said: “He has a very high cruising speed and can quicken off it. Aidan shook the reins and off he’s gone.

“I would have thought one more would be enough before Cheltenham. There aren’t many options, although the Kingmaker (at Warwick) is one that comes to mind.

“Routine is everything for this horse’s mind. That’s why he goes off and does his own thing in the morning.

“In his races he’s so quick that he can dictate and he’s done everything right so far.

“To go whizzing round Sandown like that is not easy. I would love to know how far he will stay.”

McManus, who went to £570,000 to secure the services of Jonbon at the sales, added: “He has the size and scope, and makes it look so effortless. He’s very exciting.”


Henry VIII Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
£80,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 119y, Class 1
4 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places

1     Jonbon 6 11-7 Nicky Henderson Aidan Coleman 2/11F

2 8 Boothill 7 11-7 Harry Fry Jonathan Burke 9/2
16 Unexpected Party 7 11-7 Dan Skelton Kielan Woods 22/1
7 Honneur D'Ajonc 5 11-7 Jane Williams David Noonan 100/1