Captain Conan: second favourite for the Champion ChasePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Sire De Grugy heads
11 in Champion Chase
BARRY GERAGHTY might be without Sprinter Sacre in the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase but he believes that second favourite Captain Conan, declared alongside 10 rivals for Wednesday's race, is more than capable of capturing the Cheltenham Festival prize.
Sire De Grugy heads the betting for the 2m chase, while Paul Nicholls' only runner, Hinterland, will be ridden by Noel Fehily rather than stable jockey Daryl Jacob, who guided him to Grade 1 success at Sandown on his last outing.
Geraghty and Captain Conan’s trainer Nicky Henderson have landed the last two Champion Chases with Finian’s Rainbow scoring in 2012 and Sprinter Sacre demolishing his rivals in the race 12 months ago.
However, with the reigning champion sidelined after a disappointing comeback run at Christmas, Geraghty will be aboard Captain Conan instead and feels his mount is thriving.
A Grade 1 winner over hurdles and fences, Captain Conan is the 5-1 second favourite for the Champion Chase behind Sire De Grugy and was last seen finishing third to that rival in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December.
Speaking to At The Races, Geraghty said: “Captain Conan always promised a lot at home. He’s delivered on some days and not on others. He might just be a horse that is difficult to get right on the day. He seems really well at the moment.
“You could say he disappointed in the Tingle Creek but he was still there going to two out before weakening so he has not got an awful lot to find. He seems better than he’s ever been so I’m really looking forward to him.”
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