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|Gold Cup still under consideration for Captain Chris|
Philip Hobbs‘ smart chaser Captain Chris, an honourable third in the thrilling King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day won by the remarkable Kauto Star, is still under consideration for a Cheltenham Gold Cup bid despite being unproven at the trip, writes Elliot Slater.
A winner of the Grade 2 Pendil Novices Chase at Kempton last season over two-miles-five furlongs, Captain Chris has plenty of pace and went on to beat the smart Finian’s Rainbow in the two-mile Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last March before following up over the minimum trip at Punchestown in May beating Realt Dubh in the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase. Those looking at the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting online need to remember this.
After the King’s Theatre gelding had unseated his rider at the last at Exeter in November in the Haldon Gold Cup (when looking as though he was coming to win the race), Hobbs decided to go for broke and run his star over three miles for the first time in the King George, and despite not jumping or travelling with his usual fluency he still put up a good effort in finishing an 18-length third behind the outstanding winner and the runner-up, Gold Cup hero Long Run.
On the face of it Captain Chris appeared to see the three miles out well enough, but in the Gold Cup he would have another two-and-a-half furlongs to cover on a much stiffer track with a notoriously steep uphill finish. Many observers believe that Captain Chris’ best chance of success at the festival might well come in the two-mile-five-furlong Ryanair Chase, but Hobbs is keeping an open mind for the time being and will not make any final decision until his charge has had his final race before the festival which should come at the end of January or in early February.