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News: 19 March 2012


Champion Court came very close to becoming Court Cave’s first Cheltenham Festival Winner, when finishing a gallant runner-up to Sir Des Champs in the Grade 2 Jewson Novices Chase at Cheltenham on Thursday (March 15th).

‘Champ’ disputed the lead from the outset and put in an awesome round of jumping under Alain Cawley. He had most of his rivals hard at work at the top of the hill, including the favourite Peddlers Cross, who was last year’s Champion Hurdle runner up. The only horse that could live with him was the Willie Mullins trained Sir Des Champs, who tracked him until between the last two fences and took up the running before the final fence. Champion Court responded gamely though and out jumped his rival at the last to land back in the lead but despite his brave rally, he wasn’t able to match the winner on the run-in.

This was by far Champion Court’s best performance to date and he was produced in tip top shape on the day by his excellent trainer, Martin Keighley. Having finished 4th in last year’s Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, he has now reached the hallowed winners enclosure two years running. Hopefully he can stay sound and make it to the ‘Number 1’ spot 3rd time lucky next year!

As outlined in previous news, Champion Court is an excellent advertisement for Court Cave’s ability to upgrade his mares as he is the first black type horse in 4 generations of his dam’s pedigree. He was bred by Larry O’Connor who raced his dam ‘Mooneys Hill’ to win a hurdle when trained by Al O’Connell.

What a week it was for Court Cave’s Stallion relations

His full brother Beat Hollow sired the opening winner of the week in the shape of Cinders and Ashes, winner of the Grade 1 Supreme Novices Hurdle. Beat Hollow now stands at Ballylinch Stud at a fee of €6,000. Court Cave’s ‘1st cousin’ Martaline sired Pique Sous, 3rd home in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper. Martaline stands in France at a fee of €4,000. All in all, Court Cave looks great value at €2,500 and his book for 2012 is almost full.

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