Captain Chris takes victory at Kempton

Captain Chris rewarded the smattering of racegoers at Kempton with a performance of genuine substance in the Bet Multiples - Betdaq 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle.

Captain Chris rewarded the smattering of racegoers at Kempton with a performance of genuine substance in the Bet Multiples - Betdaq 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle.

Aintree now awaits the son of the very capable two-mile chaser Function Dream, who cost €250,000 and races for Philip Hobbs and owner Diana Whateley.

Last week, Whateley's colours were carried to victory in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle by Menorah and although Captain Chris is less precocious, he seems to be regarded as another of the stable's future stars.

Now a six-year-old, the gelding has been given plenty of time to develop and has raced exclusively at Kempton, starting off with a fourth in a bumper in February before a bloodless triumph over hurdles a fortnight ago.

The proximity of runner-up Rollwiththepunches, considered for Cheltenham at one point by trainer Charlie McBride, attests to ability of the winner as the 30-100 favourite finished 13 lengths ahead of him.

Hobbs' wife Sarah said: "We are going to have to try a tongue-tie and a cross noseband next time as he gurgled all the way up the straight.

"The ground would probably be the same at Aintree, so he could go there now, and probably chasing next season."

Richard Johnson, riding Captain Chris for the first time, added: "I think he's more of a three-mile chaser, while Menorah is a two-mile hurdler.

"This trip was a little sharp. I know he cost a lot of money but hopefully there's a lot to look forward to."

A tally of two Cheltenham winners and several other good places made for a very satisfying week for the Hobbs team, contrasting markedly with the fortunes experienced by Alan King.

King started the season with high hopes but his string have been almost constantly plagued by setbacks.

The trainer was granted a temporary reprieve as Ravethebrave (15-8) pulled four lengths clear of 11-10 favourite Great Reason in the Betdaq The Betting Exchange Novices' Hurdle but was typically frank in his appraisal of the campaign.

"He's a seriously good work horse and I thought his last run at Doncaster was an improvement from his previous run at Hereford," said King.

"Choc (Thornton, jockey) thinks he might make a nice chaser next year."

He continued: "It's hard to come to the racecourse with confidence at the moment. One or two owners have jumped ship already but hopefully we'll learn from it. I just wish the season was over!"

The fitting of a visor helped Alderluck (11-1) deliver a fine weight-carrying performance in the Handicap Hurdle.

"My old man (Josh Gifford) was never a fan of headgear but we had nothing to lose by trying it and it sharpened him up," said trainer Nick Gifford.

"We thought two miles and five might be a little on the sharp side so we rode him positively.

"He'll probably have an entry for Aintree then go chasing next season."

The almost-white Power Shared (7-1) managed a passable impression of Desert Orchid - albeit at a considerably lower level - in the Betdaq On 0870 178 1221 Novices' Handicap Chase.

Jockey Wayne Hutchinson is forging a decent partnership with Pat Murphy, who said: "He wouldn't have ridden a dozen for us but I think five of them have won.

"We've only got four jumpers but that's our sixth winner. I think this fellow will be all right at the game. He is a bit exuberant, but he didn't have the best experience starting off."

Timmy Murphy and Alesandro Mantegna (5-2) caught Jigsaw Dancer on the line in the Bet Formula One - Betdaq Handicap Chase.

Synthe Davis appeared to have the Bet Champions League Football - Betdaq Conditional Jockeys' Novices' Handicap Hurdle in safe-keeping but dived at the final flight and handed the spoils to Zafranagar (8-1).

There was a noteworthy winner in the last as Jurado Express (15-2) landed the hunter chase for the third year in succession.

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