MARTIN Keighley, the son of a Yorkshire fireman, hopes to continue his stable’s fine run of form when Creepy lines up in the Feltham Novices Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
A Grade One race for novice steeplechasers over the King George course and distance, Keighley won the corresponding race 12 months ago with Annacotty and hopes Creepy can do likewise.
After the six-year-old won his steeplechase debut at Chepstow, Keighley admits to being strangely relieved when Creepy unseated Richard Johnson in a race at Chepstow last month won by the Tom Scudamore-ridden Kings Palace, who bypasses the Feltham.
“He came out of it unscathed and it is probably a blessing that he didn’t complete the course,” said Keighley, who trains in the Cotswolds near Cheltenham.
“The ones who did looked dead on their feet. We’ve decided to save him for the Feltham and he’d have a similar chance to Annacotty. I’m sure Kempton will suit him and hopefully the ground won’t be too soft. I’m hoping for a big run. He was a smart hurdler and this lad is one I believe can go right to the top.”
Annacotty was Keighley’s first Grade One winner and the trainer, and his wife Belinda, are still celebrating their momentous double at Cheltenham on Friday last week.
Stable stalwart Any Currency, pipped on the line at the Cheltenham Festival by the Johnson-inspired Balthazar King, won the cross country race while Benbane Head triumphed a week after taking the wrong course at Exeter and being pulled up.
As for Annacotty, Keighley said the horse never travelled for jockey Gavin Sheehan in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury and will head back to his beloved Kempton in February for the Betbright Chase.