Horses To Follow » Champagne Classic

Champagne Classic

Champagne Classic ran another good race in finishing second to Chris’s Dream in the Grade 2 Ten Up Chase. Settled nicely early on behind the two pace-setters Blow By Blow and Moonshine Bay, the Gigginstown House horse moved nicely in third place for Jack Kennedy as they rounded the home turn. He came under pressure as they raced to the second last fence, and Chris’s Dream and Moonshine Bay got away from him a little, but he found plenty between the last two fences. He moved into second place on the run to the last and he chased Chris’s Dream all the way up the run-in, staying on strongly to get to within a half a length of him by the time they reached the winning line.

It was another big run by Champagne Classic, on just his second run back after a long break. A hugely encouraging third behind Ballyward and the afore-mentioned Chris’s Dream in a Grade 3 contest at Naas on his first run back, this was another step forward from the Gordon Elliott-trained gelding, running a highly talented rival to a half a length, and leaving another talented rival in Any Second Now back in third.

Champagne Classic was a talented hurdler himself, he won the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, and he won a really strong Grade 1 three-mile novices’ hurdle at the 2017 Punchestown Festival, when he had Penhill, Monalee, Al Boum Photo and Presenting Percy behind him. He didn’t run after that until he made his chasing bow in that Grade 3 contest at Naas last month.

It looks like the National Hunt Chase is the most likely target for him at the Cheltenham Festival this year, and that makes a lot of sense. Connections already have Delta Work for the RSA Chase, and it looks like a step up to four miles will be a positive for Champagne Classic. He has Cheltenham Festival winning form, and you know that, if he does make the National Hunt Chase line-up, he is sure to have a top class amateur rider like Jamie Codd or Lisa O’Neill for company.

Navan, 17th February 2019