Johnson: Everything in Captain’s favour

Richard Johnson believes Captain Chris has “everything in his favour” as he makes his seasonal return in the Betfred Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon today.

The Philip Hobbs-trained nine-year-old enjoyed an excellent campaign last time around, once again showing his preference for right-handed tracks with good runs at Ascot sandwiching his excellent effort to finish a neck second to Long Run in the King George at Kempton.

He was due to make his return in last month’s Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot, but missed out after a slight setback and instead gives weight to six talented opponents in Huntingdon’s Grade Two feature.

“It’ll be great to get him back on the racecourse again. He seems very well at home and I’m looking forward to riding him,” said Johnson.

“The dry weather we’ve been having means he should get his ground, so everything is in his favour.”

The horse likely to give Captain Chris most to think about at the weights is Riverside Theatre, who receives 10lb despite being rated only 2lb inferior. However, Nicky Henderson’s 2012 Ryanair Chase hero failed to rediscover that level of form in three starts last season.

Another horse on something of a recovery mission is Martin Keighley’s stable star Champion Court.

The usually consistent eight-year-old was a disappointing seventh when favourite for last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, but Keighley believes there are valid excuses for that below-par effort.

“He was disappointing in the Paddy Power as he didn’t travel in the way we know he can. He was in a bit of discomfort afterwards and might have had a touch of colic,” said the trainer.

“He’ll like the ground and the distance and Huntingdon will suit.

Tom George’s Module steps up in distance having pushed Somersby all the way in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in early November.

George said: “I think this is more his trip, although he’ll get even further in time. We think he’ll be a three miler.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Ghizao won first time out last season before his form tailed off and the trainer feels he is at his best after a break.

Nicholls said: “He’s in good form and the key to him is that he’s best fresh.”

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