Captain Chris still holds two entries at the Cheltenham Festival, but the fact he is expected to fare better in a stamina test means that connections are most likely to run him in the Jewson Novices’ Chase.
Philip Hobbs’ seven-year-old has finished second in all of his three career starts over the larger obstacles, which have ranged in distance from two miles to 2m4f.
This has left Hobbs with the dilemma of whether to run Captain Chris over the shorter trip in the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, or the Jewson, which is over the longer distance.
Captain Chris is 8/1 in the Jewson Novices’ Chase odds to secure victory, while he is 12/1 in the ante-post betting to triumph in the Arkle Chase.
However, Hobbs has now indicated that the Jewson Chase is the logical choice for Captain Chris, unless heavy rain hits Cheltenham and puts an added emphasis on stamina in the Arkle.
Hobbs said: “I think it’s going to have to be very soft to run Captain Chris in the Arkle.
“But jockey Richard Johnson probably disagrees as he feels he could be equally effective in either race. I’m leaning towards the two-and-a-half mile race with him.”
The other problem with running Captain Chris in the Arkle is that he would have to re-oppose Ghizao, who he has already lost to twice this season, including when the recipient of 10lb in weight at Newbury in December.
Noble Prince currently heads the betting market for the Jewson Novices’ Chase at 7/1, with trainer Paul Nolan optimistic that the step up in trip will play to the horse’s strengths and help him avoid hitting a flat spot in the race.
A £25 stake on Captain Chris winning the Jewson Novices’ Chase would return £200. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.