Court Team Target Kempton

Connections of the useful staying novice chaser Champion Court are already eagerly looking forward to Kempton Park on Boxing Day where they hope their talented performer will run a very big race in the Grade 1 Feltham Novices’ Chase, writes Elliot Slater.

The winner of a Grade 2 novices hurdle at Cheltenham last November, the Martin Keighley-trained six-year-old went on to run a fine race in coming home fourth behind Bobs Worth in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and has always looked a horse likely to make a name for himself over the larger obstacles. Things didn’t get off to the best of starts though over fences as Champion Court managed to unseat Tony McCoy when holding every chance and travelling strongly at the third last on his chasing bow at Perth in September, but he made swift amends for that blunder when easily accounting for Saint Are in a novice chase at Aintree a month later. Although the feature 2011 King George VI Chase looks beyond him, he’s showing signs that he could go well at Kempton.

Keighley then sent Champion Court to Cheltenham last week for the Steel Plate & Sections Novices Chase, where he ran a fine race to come home a clear second best behind the potentially high-class Grand Crus, runner-up in the World Hurdle last term and already being spoken of as a potential star chaser of the future. Giving weight to the David Pipe-trained winner Paddy Brennan’s mount jumped well in the main and managed to stay with the dashing grey until the second last where Grand Crus’ superior pace soon put the matter beyond any doubt. Those looking at the Kempton chase betting should remember this.

The extra three furlongs at Kempton will certainly play to the stamina strengths of Champion Court and connections would also be delighted to see plenty of rain at the Sunbury track as their charge is a significantly better performer when the ground is testing and the mud is flying.