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Nicky Henderson hails Champ’s courage in Ascot Long Walk Hurdle triumph

Nicky Henderson hails Champ’s courage on his comeback in Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle – with win making him the 4-1 favorite for the Stayers’ Hurdle on the Cheltenham Festival

  • Nicky Henderson’s horse, Champ, was victorious Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle
  • The horse is now 4-1 favorite for the Stayers’ Hurdle on the Cheltenham Festival
  • Henderson and proprietor JP McManus consider Champ has ‘had a tough time’ of late

It was solely imagined to be a confidence booster after again surgical procedure forward of a return to steeplechasing however Champ is now 4-1 favorite for the Stayers’ Hurdle on the Cheltenham Festival in March after victory in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.

Trainer Nicky Henderson and proprietor JP McManus had been each reluctant to make immediate plans however provided that Champ’s leaping has let him down at occasions over fences it will likely be a shock if he’s despatched again over the larger obstacles, regardless that it might be a dream consequence for the horse named after 20-time champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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Champ’s length-and-three-quarter victory from favorite Thyme Hill with two-time race winner Paisley Park in third was a primary at grade one stage for his jockey Jonjo O’Neill Jnr.

Jockey Jonjo O'Neill Jnr claimed victory in the Howden Long Walk Hurdle on Saturday

Jockey Jonjo O’Neill Jnr claimed victory in the Howden Long Walk Hurdle on Saturday

It additionally accomplished a topsy-turvy 24 hours for Henderson after Buzz, who had been the ante-post favorite for the Long Walk, fractured his pelvis throughout a routine work-out on the gallops on Friday morning.

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Henderson, who mentioned the early indicators in Buzz’s recuperation had been optimistic, added: ‘It has been a really unusual 24 hours. This was meant to be about Buzz and whether or not he stayed three miles till he was knocked out of it, which was merciless.

‘Champ has had a nasty time and we have needed to right a number of issues. It appeared a logical factor to present him a run over hurdles for his personal good and confidence.

‘He was tanking the entire method via however having gone as exhausting as that he nonetheless had the combat of a lion in him after the final to win first day out. He’s only a horse everybody loves.

O’Neill was delighted with the victory, as punches the air in delight whilst aboard Champ

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 O’Neill was delighted with the victory, as punches the air in delight while aboard Champ

‘I’m not going to be rushed into a choice and he may return to fences or think about the Stayers’ Hurdle. It is simply pretty to see him again the place he belongs.’

Champ, who missed a bit of final season after a respiratory operation, gained the 2020 RSA Chase on the Cheltenham Festival as a novice, beating Minella Indo.

While the runner-up returned to Cheltenham in March to win the Gold Cup, Champ was pulled up by the seventh fence after a collection of leaping errors.

A swap again to hurdles after not fulfilling your potential over fences has a massively profitable latest precedent in Big Buck’s.

Champ missed the majority of last season due to a breathing operation but is now fit and well

Champ missed nearly all of final season as a result of a respiratory operation however is now match and properly

He was switched again after unseating his jockey in the Hennessy Gold Cup and went on to win 4 Stayers’ Hurdlers (2009-12).

Champ is a 20-1 shot for the talent-packed Gold Cup whereas his important threats in a Stayers’ Hurdle would look like the horses who completed behind him yesterday, in addition to Willie Mullins-trained Klassical Dream, spectacular winner on the Punchestown Festival In April.

Jockey Daryl Jacob was taken to hospital for X-rays on suspected hip and leg accidents following a first-fence tumble on Caribean Boy, the Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old, in Ascot’s Howden Silver Cup Handicap Chase yesterday.

Trainer Nicky Henderson made plans given that Champ’s jumping has previously let him down

Trainer Nicky Henderson made plans provided that Champ’s leaping has beforehand let him down

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