I think this horse has a fine chance of continuing his progress in his toughest test yet at Sandown on Saturday in the Henry VIII Novices Chase. There’s a strong entry quality-wise but, as is standard for the race, not many will go to post. Field sizes in the past five years:
North Hill Harvey has been confirmed by trainer Skelton as very much an intended runner here whereas the Tizzards have said it’s highly likely Finian’s Oscar will miss this for Cheltenham. Brain Power is the early favourite at evens and he made a sparkling debut and goes very well at these right handed tracks. But it’s highly debatable that he’s a better chaser than North Hill Harvey even though he’s rated 15lbs better than the Skelton horse over hurdles. Even that rating difference is open to debate as Skelton has cursed himself for the way he handled the horse’s hurdling campaign.
North Hill Harvey is a fine jumper and the form of his races looks rock solid, He beat Sceau Royal getting 5lbs from that horse on North Hill Harvey’s debut. Sceau Royal won next time as did North Hill Harvey in a better race. The two chase wins have been at Cheltenham where he has a great record. One concern here is going right-handed; he’s tried it twice (both Huntingdon) without winning. Those were hurdle outings though and he has matured and has every chance of being just as effective this way round as going clockwise.
Sceau Royal is entered here and he’ll be 5lbs better off. This is sure to give us a line into the improvement North Hill Harvey has made. 9/2 is too big and should be taken with Paddy Power; he’s as low as 3/1 with other bookmakers and that, in my opinion, illustrates more accurately his chance.