Captain Conan: bagged a second success at Sandown this seasonPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Captain Conan takes command at the death
Report: Sandown, Saturday
Betfred Mobile Lotto Challengers Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m4½f, 5yo+
HE WASN'T at his best but Captain Conan’s class shone through just, as Nicky Henderson's six-year-old got up on the line to defeat Third Intention, who had jumped and travelled like the winner until the final strides.
Paddy Power pushed the winner out to 6-1 (from 4-1) for the Jewson Novices' Chase at the Festival, as connections agreed he was below his best on the day.
Down the back Captain Conan wasn't jumping with the alacrity with which we have seen him do before this season, and heading towards the Pond fence Geraghty was scrubbing along.
Third Intention on the other hand was jumping with aplomb. In fact he leapt into the lead earlier than Joe Tizzard wanted at the Railway fences, but he again found one too good as the 1-2 pounced late.
One thing this did show was that Captain Conan gets the trip as he had to battle all the way to the line. His jockey just felt he'd come on for the run. "He's been working in Nicky's indoor school and probably just lacked a bit of race fitness," said Geraghty.
"I don't think it was the ground he won on similar at Cheltenham. He looked like three-miler today, but I'd say two and half is his best. He's a big horse who takes plenty of work."
Henderson concurred. "He's just a big horse who got tired. He's had to hang around and wait quite a while for this. Barry said the ground was not a lot worse than at Cheltenham and I think you have to conclude he stays.
"He's not a slow horse and he may prefer to bowl along in front, but he strikes me as the sort who might get three one day."