Champ Looking At Leopardstown For Christmas Target


RSA Novice's Chase winner Champ will be aimed at the Savills Chase at Leopardstown around Christmas ans that will act as a big stepping stone in his challenge for the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham festival in March.

The superstar pulled off the performance of the 2020 Cheltenham festival when jumping the last in the RSA well behind the two tiring leaders but managing to fly up the hill, staying the best of the field and just getting up on the line to land the Grade One.

Before that race he lost his unbeaten record over fences when falling two out at Cheltenham on New Year's Day but at the festival he put everything right and looks to be a hell of a staying horse.

With his big target being the Gold Cup, Henderson will have to manage him closely so they get the best out of him and it looks as though he will head to Aintree in the coming weeks for his seasonal opener.

(Credit ATR) “Champ is not quite as far forward as some,” said Henderson.“We have just looked at his wind, but that is all sorted now – however, he is a little bit behind the others in the A-squad.

“I don’t think he will go to Sandown for the intermediate chase, and we aren’t that keen on the idea of the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury – and I don’t think Kempton is really his track either.

“The Many Clouds Chase at Aintree is a possibility, and there is a serious chance he could go to Ireland for the Savills Chase at Christmas – that is something we have mulled over.”

Another horse that will be sent into the Gold Cup for the Seven Barrows trainer is last year's second in the feature race Santini and he is said to be in fine form at home.

“We are trying to get Santini ready for the Betfair Chase at Haydock – that is the plan at the moment,” added the champion trainer.

“I don’t think he will go to Kempton for the King George, because when he got beaten in the Feltham the other year I didn’t think it was his track that day.

“Going back to Cheltenham for the Cotswold Chase would be the obvious place for him to go after Christmas. The problem with these big chasers is there aren’t many options for them.”