Cheltenham Festival 2012 

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By Dylan Jenear ValueChecker

Compelling Claims for Champion Court in the Jewson

Given that the inaugural running of the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival – not to be mistaken for the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase – was last season, there isn’t a great deal to go on in terms of statistics.

Champion Court
© Grossick Racing Photography

Champion Court
The 2012 renewal of this contest, like last year’s, looks set to be a highly competitive affair, featuring a number of potentially very classy chasers. Of those to the fore in the betting, Cristal Bonus is the first that can be ruled out, largely on account of inexperience: he has only had one previous start over fences.

It’s not hard to see why Irish raider Sir Des Champs or the Nick Williams-trained For Non Stop are amongst the front-runners in terms of the ante-post market, but at the current prices the one to be on is Champion Court who rates a rock-solid each-way option.

Given that Cheltenham is a unique track – its gradients are unlike any other in the context of racecourses – Champion Court’s effectiveness at Prestbury Park is a compelling attribute. The way he saw his race out when landing the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase over 2m 5f at the course on his latest start augurs well, too, particularly given that his rider dropped his whip at the last fence.

As the Wikis indicate, the seven-year-old is tactically versatile, another factor which will stand him in good stead. His jumping technique was better than ever in the Dipper, and there is good reason to believe that he is still improving, given that he has had just 10 starts overall. It will be a surprise if he doesn’t go mighty close on March 15.

Recommendation: Champion Court

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