Betfair Denman Chase
|Grade 2 Handicap, Newbury 14:25
3m, Class 1
|Saturday 7th February 2015|
1 Coneygree 15/8 F
2 Houblon Des Obeaux 100/30
3 Unioniste 9/2
6 ran Distances: 7l, 3½l, 4½l
TIME 5m 54.60s (slow by 6.60s)
Coneygree makes it seven wins from nine starts with victory in the Denman Chase at Newbury
Winning rider Richard Johnson: "The Gold Cup is an option for Coneygree. He's definitely not a million miles away."
Coneygree 4/1 fav from 8s RSA & 16s from 33/1 for the Gold Cup
Making just his third appearance over fences, 15/8 favourite Coneygree put up a truly outstanding round of jumping to land the Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase, leaving his connections the difficult decision of which race to target at the Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old, who was bred by the late Lord Oaksey and partnered today by Richard Johnson, led from pillar to post in the three-mile contest and saw off all comers, eventually coming home seven lengths clear of Houblon Des Obeaux. He is unbeaten over fences.
Successful trainer Mark Bradstock said: "That was pretty good, he jumps so well.
"The ground was plenty tacky enough for him out there today but just pinged the cross fence and off we went.
"It was quite an achievement to do what he has done today against older horses. It is fair enough to do it against novices so to do it like that today a great achievement.
"We will worry about which race to go for at Cheltenham on Tuesday, when we have to decide if we pay to leave him in the Gold Cup - I think the owners might be able to afford to after today. I will talk with the owners and my feeling is that he will probably continue to have the Gold Cup entry.
"It is still open which race he will go to at Cheltenham. It will still be only his fourth race over fences and I am not going to commit yet. I will talk to the owners and go from there.
"It is just wonderful for the yard to have a horse like him. We will sleep well tonight and have a few glasses of water!"
Richard Johnson added: "I was very impressed. It's the first time that I have sat on him but he generally just enjoys himself. I was pretty sure that I was going a good, strong gallop but he didn't feel like he was anywhere near out of his comfort zone. That's obviously the sign of a very good horse and his jumping for a novice was very, very good.
"Whatever race he goes for at the Festival, he will have to be well respected in the form he is now. He is definitely not a million miles away from the Gold Cup - it looks a very open race. I think Silviniaco Conti is the one they all have to beat but Coneygree's performance at Kempton, on the times and everything, wasn't a million miles away from him. You have got to be thinking that the race is an option."
Betfair Denman Chase
£50,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m, Class 1
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places
|Pos||Dist||Horse SP||Jockey /Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Coneygree 19/10f||R Johnson
|2nd||7||Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 33/10||Aidan Coleman
|Miss V Williams||8|
|3rd||3½||Unioniste (FR) 9/2||N Fehily
|P F Nicholls||7|
|4th||4½||Taquin Du Seuil (FR) 9/2||A P McCoy
|5th||7||Harry Topper 15/2||B J Geraghty
|K C Bailey||8|
|6th||3½||Double Ross (IRE) 33/1||R Hatch
|N A Twiston-Davies||9|