Nico de Boinville Cheltenham rides are once again about quality over quantity at the Festival this year. That has been something of a hallmark of his career, so here we look at six of the best hopes he gets the leg up on.
No British jockey apart from De Boinville is really in the hunt for the leading Festival ride prize, with Cheltenham top jockey odds now as big as 12/1 with Virgin Bet. Three years ago, he captured this honour, however, with a relatively low three winners. Luck played its part then and fortune may need to favour Nicky Henderson’s stable jockey again if he is to regain the crown.
There are a few Nico de Boinville Cheltenham rides this year that the best betting sites and bookies in the UK clearly fear, though. He does need Seven Barrows firing on all cylinders, however. These are the top six rides De Boinville has at the Festival.
Constitution Hill – Supreme Novices Hurdle
Henderson has a strong hand for the Festival opener in Jonbon and Constitution Hill. As the former runs in the colours of JP McManus, the powerful Irish owner usually has Aidan Coleman take the ride. It’s a similar story with Champion Hurdle hope Epatante. That leaves De Boinville down as riding Tolworth winner Constitution Hill in the Supreme.
Since owner Michael Buckley purchased this horse out of the Irish Point field, he has won both starts at Sandown in authoritative fashion. All of Constitution Hill’s winning form is right-handed, however, and on winter ground. Despite that, he is one of the Nico de Boinville Cheltenham rides to most look forward to with Virgin Bet going 9/4 about Supreme success.
Marie’s Rock – Close Brothers Mares Hurdle
It turns out that Marie’s Rock has been crying out for a step up in trip, so that’s precisely what Henderson did this winter. Only seventh in the Greatwood Hurdle Cheltenham results back in November, she has since won two of her completed starts at 2m 5f under different jockeys. De Boinville will surely be back aboard Marie’s Rock for the big race, however.
There are plenty of good Irish mares in opposition but she might just be the best of British. This Grade 1 race is littered with recent drams with both Annie Power and Benie Des Dieux taking tumbles at the final flight. Marie’s Rock is the first of a few Nico de Boinville Cheltenham rides with each way claims. Virgin Bet are 10/1 about her in the Mares Hurdle.
I Am Maximus – Ballymore Novices Hurdle
Listed New course runner-up I Am Maximus has always been held in high regard at Seven Barrows. A Cheltenham bumper winner on his racecourse debut, he then scored second time out over hurdles at Newbury. The form of that Ballymore Trial second has worked out well for I Am Maximus too.
Only Hillcrest, a subsequent Grade 2 winner and now favourite for the Albert Bartlett on Gold Cup day, was a couple of lengths too good for him. The Ballymore is bound to cut up leaving Cheltenham odds of 14/1 very tempting. Henderson scratched Walking On Air from this race, leaving Aintree on the agenda and other Nico de Boinville Cheltenham rides available.
Dusart – Brown Advisory or Turners Novices Chase
Very unexposed and a tendency to jump left-handed. If nothing else, Cheltenham is right way around for Dusart. Always held in high regard by Henderson, Ronnie Bartlett’s horse was a leading contender for the Supreme last season. A setback stopped Dusart from taking part at Cheltenham 12 months ago, though.
Henderson has him in the Brown Advisory Novices Chase over 3m, a trip connections claim the horse wants now, but also the shorter distance Turners Novices Chase. Dusart has learned on the job in two chase outings. Although not entirely convincing with his jumping on either occasion, he could still be anything. While Virgin Bet are 16/1 about Dusart in the Turners, the 14/1 for the Brown Advisory looks a better each way angle.
Shishkin – Queen Mother Champion Chase
Top dog among all Nico de Boinville Cheltenham rides at the Festival is Shishkin. Already a dual winner at the meeting after victories in the Supreme and Arkle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase odds say defeat is almost out of the question at 8/13. Shishkin simply hasn’t put a foot wrong over fences and won his Clarence House duel with Energumene by staying last time out.
That bodes will in his bid for a Cheltenham hat-trick. Wise men say there is no such thing as a Cheltenham banker but Shishkin is as close as any British horse will get to being one. Every time he has stood up over obstacles in his career so far, he has won. There is no doubt that despite the pressure that comes with it, this is the horse De Boinville will be most looking forward to riding.
Chantry House – Cheltenham Gold Cup
On board for all eight starts over fences, Chantry House is one JP McManus runner that De Boinville has a great relationship with. This horse came into his own 12 months ago when capitalising on the shock fall of Envoi Allen at last year’s Festival. As horse racing results show, he has since won two more graded races over 3m 1f at Aintree and Cheltenham. Success in the Cotswold Chase last time out saw Chantry House finished tired.
First-time cheekpieces worked and he left his poor effort in the King George at Kempton behind. Going up in trip for Chantry House is an interesting angle on the pick of his form. There are others at shorter Gold Cup odds in the market but a 16/1 price also has each way juice in it. That completes the main Nico de Boinville Cheltenham races at the Festival this time around.
Nico de Boinville Cheltenham Rides Day by Day at 2022 Festival
- 1:30 Supreme Novices Hurdle – Constitution Hill
- 4:10 Mares Hurdle – Marie’s Rock
- 1:30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle – I Am Maximus
- 2:10 Brown Advisory Novices Chase – Dusart
- 3:30 Queen Mother Champion Chase – Shishkin
- 3:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup – Chantry House
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