Champ survives scare to stay unbeaten over fences
Champ survived a late scare to meet his title and maintain his unbeaten record over fences at the Ladbrokes’Where The Nation Plays’ Novices’ Chase at Newbury.
A winner over the hurdles at the track earlier this month, the Nicky Henderson-trained seven year old – who’s appointed after Sir Anthony McCoy – repeated the suggestion fell down to shoot Grade Two honours.
Brought through to challenge leader Black Op after the last, the 4-5 favourite very almost took the route – prior to beating the together by Barry Geraghty compelled to take extreme evasive action.
Henderson said:”What he is very rightly saying is,’there is this fool running me two-miles-four, should we not be going two-mile-six?’ , and go round again and he wanted to jump the water. He wants.
“I’m quite keen to keep him under the three-mile radar, however I believe we understand where we wish to complete off (RSA Chase).
“The initial plan was supposed to return here so he could go to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day to the Dipper. That is the plan. I want him to go around Cheltenham.
“If we go to the Dipper we could think again, however we do not need to move three miles ahead of the RSA. There’s no doubt he remains, as he proved that in Aintree last season.
“If I would run him in the Albert Bartlett in Cheltenham and done the sensible thing, he would be ”
Determined by his fright, Geraghty said:”He even also took an opportunity at third-last, however he did well to endure it and was great in the last two. He had been leaning a bit left over the run-in and had a look to move .
“I had my head and forcing, but he was leaning left. This was a little scare, however, he did well”
As the trainer Tom George of Black Op, he had been happy with the performance of the Grade One-winning hurdler in defeat, and specifically his jumping for.
He explained :”It was a fantastic run. It was shame the other one (Dashel Drasher, who unseated his rider at the very first fence) did not provide him a direct or little business for a little while, as he was probably in front long enough.
“His jumping was superb. Everything went , he was beaten by a horse that was really good.
“He will remain three miles, but he is fast enough for two and a half as well, so there are plenty of choices.”