Champ – Still Looking Good!

November 7th, 2019 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there!

Champ won what I think we can all agree was the best beginners’ chase of the season so far when beating the talented Dashel Drasher by three and a half lengths at Newbury this afternoon.

His jumping was assured in the main – he brushed through the top of a couple – but the key to this success was his turn of foot after the last. Looking back this is how he had won his races last season, notably in the Challow Hurdle here at Newbury and then at Aintree in the Grade 1 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.

That last race was over an extended three miles but he had no trouble dropping back to today’s extended 2m 6f, beating a very useful performer rated 145 over hurdles in the process.

Nicky Henderson said afterwards that Champ had been “a bit too quick” over the fences when schooling at home which is why he was taken away to Chepstow to jump a few fences around there.

This was the longest trip Dashel Drasher has tackled and given the exuberance with which he races he may be suited to dropping back a little, perhaps to 2m 4f.

As for the winner, Champ is now a top price of 5/1 for the RSA Chase and 16/1 for the shorter JLT. The RSA can be quite a gruelling test and I imagine Nicky Henderson will want to keep both options open, especially if the weather looks uncertain.

The slight concern is that Champ was beaten at the Festival last season – albeit by a good horse in City Island, who was my *** bet of the week – but I would like to see him win around there at some point before March.

In the next race Silver Forever did well to cope with the drop back to an extended two miles having made a successful hurdling debut a month ago at Chepstow over an extended 2m 3f.

Harry Cobden elected to make all the running on the mare, knowing that she would stay, and they did well to hold a determined challenge after the last from Floressa, who had won last month at Worcester by 19 lengths hard held.

The first two may return here at the end of the month for a mares’ novices’ hurdle.

To close, it looks long odds against Doncaster’s card on Saturday surviving following more than an inch of rain today. The going is currently heavy, waterlogged in places with standing water. There is an inspection at 8.00am on Friday morning.

Bye for now