Horses To Follow » Captain Chris

Captain Chris

No prize for originality but Captain Chris was thoroughly impressive again at Cheltenham last week when maintaining his unbeaten record over hurdles. Settled in a clear second by Richard Johnson behind the pace-setting Hollins, the six-year-old travelled and jumped with ease and he moved up to take up the running before the third last. As they came down the hill, the son of King’s Theatre began to hang to the right and as they jumped the second last he had hung right out to the outside of the track allowing nearly five horses up his inside. However Johnson did not panic and merely just steered him back in towards the others and, when they straightened up in the home straight he flew the last and asserted, leaving some decent novices looking very ordinary.

Although yet to prove himself at the top level, Captain Chris still deserves to be mentioned among the season’s top novices. He forfeited a serious amount of ground going down the back straight, which would have been an acceptable excuse of he had got beaten, but he showed here that he has a good engine under a confident ride to move back up and win readily. The well backed Salden Licht had no answer in second place, with Pepe Simo, third in this year’s Imperial Cup, 10 lengths back in third.

Captain Chris has done everything right over hurdles so far and he looks a nice chaser in the making, and it was interesting that his trainer nominated the Arkle as his target next year. It is a slight concern that he hung to the right coming down the hill but it may be excusable as this was only his fourth ever run and his first time on a left-handed track, having raced only at Kempton on his three previous runs. He was really impressive when accounting for the useful Rollwiththepunches by 13 lengths on his previous run at the Sunbury track, which was a step up on his maiden win there. Connections bypassed the major festivals this year obviously with next year in mind, and he looks like he could go right the top and will be a major player in the novice chasing division.

15th April 2010