Champ Set To Be Henderson's Stand Out Gold Cup Horse


Leading British trainer Nicky Henderson has stated that Champ could be his Cheltenham Gold Cup horse for next year and will start him off for that route in the Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown in November.

Champ 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 horse in the coming years.

Henderson said: “I don’t see why he can’t be a Gold Cup horse next season. He is top class, there is no doubt about it.

“There is every chance we could use the intermediate chase at Sandown for Champ which we won this season with Santini.

“There are not a million races for these sort of horses. It would be a perfectly good place to start.”

The Seven Barrows trainer was not surprised by his stars performance in the RSA, leaving his fall behind but was taken aback by the manor of the win making up that much ground in such little time to take the contest.

He added: “It wasn’t a surprise that he won, as we all knew that he could do that.

“He had done nothing wrong all season, he just had that one fall at Cheltenham. I wanted to run him again before the Festival, but I never had the opportunity to go anywhere.

“Where all that came from at the end, I don’t know. It was an extraordinary performance from the horse and from Barry Geraghty.”

Champ is currently 14/1 to take the feature Grade One at next seasons festival and Henderson knows the area he can improve on to become a Gold Cup winning horse.

He said: “We have got one area we need to improve on and that is we have got to brush up his jumping and we can do that.

“He is OK at doing it, but he has just got his own way of doing it. It just needs to be sharpened up.”