Last week at the Cheltenham Festival jockey Barry Geraghty gave the JP McManus owned Champ a genuine masterclass in the saddle winning the RSA Novices Chase.
When Champ got over the the last, he was still almost nine lengths behind Allaho and Minella Indo – with in-running betting odds hitting a high of 399-1 – even ‘mystic meg’ couldn’t have forecasted an exhilarating finish like that. The astonishing late burst of speed by Champ seen him get up in the dying strides – if you had a bet on the other two it seemed to be a slow-motion finish, lasting an eternity but the result was never in doubt.
Was it the ride of the festival?
It is a sport of opinions – although for me it rates highly as one of the most breath-taking rides I have witnessed for quite a while – Geraghty never lost the yearning for success for one second in the race, somewhat a never-say-die attitude was portrayed by Geraghty; Champ likewise as dazzling showing plenty of tenacious attributes, on the face of it blatantly refusing to get beaten in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase.
Champ’s jumping has been fairly imprecise quite a few times, he seems to lack fluency at the best of times nevertheless there is no doubting he has a fair engine to make up for that – now, it is time to sort his jumping up.
Could Champ be the real deal?
I would think with normal progression, this won’t be his last Cheltenham festival success story. Champ by name, Champ by nature.