Barry Geraghty and Patrick Mullins both think Cheltenham winner Champ can be well-suited to Leopardstown, should he be in the running for the Grade 1 Savill's Chase this Christmas.
The Nicky Henderson star is currently an early second favourite behind Minella Indo for the big Grade 1 on Monday December 28th, having been entered last week.
Champ hasn't raced since winning the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in March in dramatic fashion, getting up right at the line to beat Minella Indo by a length.
It was one of five winners for Barry Geraghty in his final Cheltenham Festival, and speaking on OTB's special Christmas racing Remote Roadshow with HRI, Geraghty says running left-handed at Leopardstown could work to Champ's advantage.
"It's an ultra competitive race and obviously all the RSA Chase form is there with Allaho and Minella Indo," he said.
"It would suit him well. He has a slight preference for left-handers and a stiff track, Kempton wouldn’t be his place. He’s been good around Newbury, he’s been good around Cheltenham so he wants a stiffer track, and left handed is probably slightly better than going right handed so it’s a good option for him."
Patrick Mullins agreed with Geraghty's assessment that the layout of the Dublin track is one that could suit Nicky Henderson's star.
"Champ might come over, I think Leopardstown will suit him because in Leopardstown there’s only two fences in the last five furlongs.
"If you are in Punchestown there's four fences in that time where there’s only two here so I think that probably suits him because he’s not the most natural jumper.
However, Mullins says his head is telling him the the Henry de Bromhead trained Minella Indo is the standard setter in the group, suggesting Kemboy - trained by his uncle Willie - may have too much ground to make up.
"Well he (Kemboy) clearly blew up on his first run back. He settled great and he made one or two mistakes, but he hasn’t seemed to recapture his form from two years ago just yet. Two years ago was that particularly dry winter and perhaps that played a part in why he was so good that year.
"We’re happy with him at home. Even last year he was behind Delta Work and Presenting Percy at times, so he’s going to be up against it I think. Minella Indo is probably the one to beat. He’s had two runs, he’s a younger horse, he’s improving so he’s going to be hard to beat.
"And then Delta work set a very solid standard, so it’s a fascinating renewal," he says.
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