Horses To Follow » Champagne Platinum

Champagne Platinum

Champagne Platinum put up a good performance to finish second in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown on Sunday. Weak in the market beforehand, he was settled towards the rear of the field early on by Mark Walsh. Still second last as they left the back straight final time and raced across the top of the track, he wasn’t great at the third last fence, and he wasn’t helped when Doctor Duffy fell beside him at the second last, but he stayed on well from there. Only fifth as they raced to the home turn, he picked up well around the home turn, and he stayed on well over the last fence and up the run-in to take second place, three lengths behind the winner and nicely clear of Floueur in third.

JP McManus’ horse showed plenty of ability when he was with Nicky Henderson until the end of last season. He only won twice, but he finished third behind Itchy Feet in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase as a novice chaser, and he finished fifth behind Mrs Milner in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival last March. Moved to Enda Bolger’s for the start of this season, he was well beaten in his first two runs, but he stayed on well to win his beginners’ chase over three miles at Navan on his last run before Sunday, just getting up on the line to deny Ain’t That A Shame in the dying strides. Sunday’s performance was another step forward from that, he saw out the marathon trip well, and that opens up more options for him. This was just his eighth chase, and he has the potential to progress again now for his new trainer, over staying trips. It may be that we will see him in cross-country chases at some point soon, but in the meantime, he will be of interest in good, staying handicap chases, with the Irish National an obvious potential target.
Punchestown, 13th February 2022