Betfred Peterborough Chase
Grade 2, Huntingdon
£60,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 4f 110y, Class 1
horse racing tipster
Thursday 12th December 2013

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1 Riverside Theatre 9/4F
2 Champion Court 4/1
3 Captain Chris 7/2
7 ran Distances: ½l, nk, 9l
TIME 4m 51.95s (slow by 0.95s)

Riverside Theatre dug deep for an inspired Barry Geraghty to claim a thrilling renewal of the Betfred Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

Riverside Theatre
© Racehorse Photos
Riverside Theatre

Nicky Henderson's nine-year-old completed a hat-trick of Grade One victories in the Ryanair Chase at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival but failed to rediscover that level of form in three starts last season.

Sent off a 9-4 favourite for this return to action, Riverside Theatre's jumping was unconvincing in the early stages and Geraghty was getting lower in the saddle with a full circuit to run. The market leader looked in real trouble before leading the back straight, with Geraghty having to resort to the whip, but his mount did respond to pressure.

Champion Court
© Racehorse Photos

Champion Court
Champion Court put up a fantastic display of jumping in front and still held a narrow lead at the last, but the galvanised Riverside Theatre came through to claim him on the far side, getting up by half a length. Captain Chris travelled powerfully for a long way on his seasonal debut and was far from disgraced in finishing a close-up third.

Henderson said: "Down the back it didn't look great but Barry said at the second-last he knew he would win. It hasn't been easy with this horse, and we've been trying everything under the sun with him.

"That's too sharp for him now, he wants three miles. I don't know about the King George, he's in there, and I'm not going to say we wouldn't do it, but we'll see how he is. Later on, something like three miles at Newbury is what he'd want."

Geraghty said: "Things weren't looking brilliant down the back, but he closed back up on the leaders turning in and I didn't have an awful lot of ground to make up. I thought from the back of the second-last we should nearly win, the way he was running on. I knew he'd stay well.

"Two and half around here is on the sharp side for him. We went a nice even gallop and I was happy with where I was. I would have liked to have travelled easier, I suppose. He struggled in the Ryanair the year he won it. He's not a horse who travels through his races as well as he should. You'd imagine a stiffer track, or further, or both, is going to help him.

"The run should bring him on, but he's a horse who goes well fresh. He's better undercooked than overcooked."

Paddy Power cut Riverside Theatre to 14-1 from 25-1 for the King George VI Chase at Kempton, while he is a 10-1 shot to regain his Ryanair crown at Cheltenham in March.

Betfred Peterborough Chase (Grade 2)
£60,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 4f 110y, Class 1
7 ran
Going: Good to Soft (Good in places)

Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Riverside Theatre
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 0lbs
9 - 4
Champion Court
M Keighley
Ian Popham
11st 6lbs
4 - 1
1/2 length
Captain Chris
P J Hobbs
R Johnson
11st 10lbs
7 - 2
T R George
P J Brennan
11st 2lbs
7 - 2
9 lengths
P R Webber
D Elsworth
10st 13lbs
25 - 1
1 3/4 length
P F Nicholls
D A Jacob
11st 6lbs
10 - 1
S Gollings
T Scudamore
11st 6lbs
20 - 1
8 lengths

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