Chantry House a possible for King George
It may not have been the test his connections were hoping for but Chantry House passed with flying colours when landing the Future Stars Intermediate Chase by 37 lengths from The Big Breakaway.
The seven-year-old faced only one rival as he took his first steps outside of novice company but he picked up where he left off having won two Grade 1s last season, including at the Cheltenham Festival.
Trainer Nicky Henderson suggested Chantry House could next go for the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, for which he was cut to 6-1 (from 7). He was also shortened to 12-1 (from 14) for the Gold Cup in March by Paddy Power.
“I’m glad its over,” said Henderson, who shared a post-race debrief with Sir Anthony McCoy. “He’s beaten all the novices but it’s a step up the next year taking on the big boys. I know everyone will shout about two-horse races but we need this. What else do I do with him?
“Champ is hopefully going to the Betfair Chase, because he has to go left-handed, so where does it leave Chantry House to go? These races were made to give youngsters a chance to break through. The runner-up is good and he’s done everything we wanted him to do.”
Henderson has used this Listed contest, which was run in memory of Irish Open-winning golfer John O’Leary, as a springboard for bigger things and has won four of the last five runnings, having previously struck with Pym and Gold Cup runners-up Santini and Might Bite.
As to Chantry House’s participation in the King George, the trainer added: “I’ll have to talk to JP [McManus, owner] about it. It seems the natural thing to do at the moment. He’s now proved he stays and his jumping was lovely. I know it may not have proved a lot but The Big Breakaway is a good horse on his day and Colin Tizzard’s horses are running well at the moment.”
The race presented Nico de Boinville with a tactical conundrum, and the jockey added: “It was a nice clear round and he saw it out well. These cat-and-mouse match races are one of the hardest things you have to do as a jockey but this was a good starting point for him.
“It’s a great jumping test round here and it’s fun when you’re on a good one. He had to do all the donkey work today and you’d like to think a bit of a lead will eke out a bit of improvement next time.”
Courtesy of Racing Post