Henderson hails victorious Champ
Trainer Nicky Henderson was impressed by Champ, who overcame a slow pace to win the Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.
The six-year-old went into the Grade One contest as the heavy favourite to claim the spoils following his course-and-distance handicap win at the start of December, but a slow pace threatened to dent his chances.
However, the JP McManus-owned gelding underlined his superiority as he pulled clear late in the race, with Henderson pleased with how he managed the situation.
"I was nervous today," said Henderson. "I was impressed with him. Whereas last time he took off with Aidan (Coleman) half way down the back, he was trying to take off with Barry off a slow pace.
"I love the turn of foot he had at the end of the day given the fact he pulled pretty hard the whole way."
Henderson has now revealed a run at next year's Cheltenham Festival is on the cards for Champ although he will also be looking to squeeze in one more outing before then.
"He will have another run (before the Cheltenham Festival), but what and where, I don't know," the trainer added. "I would have thought we would have a look at Cheltenham (at the end of January) because we have got time to do that."
Tom McGarry completed his sports journalist degree in 2011,and has since has become an integral part of the editorial and audio team. He is passionate about all things sport, particularly football, and is a lifelong supporter of his hometown club Carlisle United.