Politologue proves his champion credentials

GALLANT grey Politologue confirmed his Queen Mother Champion Chase credentials by adding to his big race tally at Kempton.

Politologue ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies wins the Unibet Desert Orchid Chase during day two of the 32Red Winter Festival at Kempton Park.

The chaser backed up high-profile successes in Exeter’s Haldon Gold Cup and Sandown’s Tingle Creek Chase with a facile win in the Desert Orchid Chase that celebrates jump racing’s greatest grey of all.

Sam Twiston-Davies’s mount was already travelling sweetly when Special Tiara, the reigning Queen Mother Champion, crashed out in the back straight.

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And, with Nicky Henderson’s Altior, the ante-post Champion Chase favourite, currently sidelined, Politologue will be a worthy contender at Cheltenham.

“He can have a nice holiday now and turn up for the Game Spirit (Newbury, February 10),” said winning trainer Paul Nicholls.

“We’ve got one aim and that’s the Champion Chase. You’ve got to get your horse there with the easiest route.

“You can have a nice break, go to the Game Spirit a bit underdone and then improve from there to Cheltenham. That’s the plan.

“All this horse will do is improve and the better the race the better he’ll be.

“The Champion Chase is a hard race to win, but I’m going into it thinking we’ve got a serious chance.”

Yet, after purchasing the horse with the blue riband Gold Cup in mind, owner John Hales accepts the minimum trip of two miles is ideal.

“We realised this is his trip as when he was running over two and a half (miles) it was pointed out by my good friend AP McCoy that he is a two-miler. I had a 
nice text of him after he won the Tingle Creek,” said a gracious Hales.

“Two miles is his trip and he is getting better and better.

“Obviously he will have one more run before Cheltenham and it will probably be the Game Spirit at Newbury.

“He is up and coming and is a young horse and he is not over-raced.

“When I first saw him in France I was very taken with him. He is very athletic and very well bred.

“He was always going to be a speed horse. I always like to think I can get one for the Gold Cup but they can’t always go for the Gold Cup.”

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies plans to stick to testing conditions with Bristol De Mai in the future following his disappointing effort in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Following a remorseless display in Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase, and then the Betfair Chase at Haydock, the six-year-old was in line for a potential £1m bonus if he could land the Boxing Day showpiece and go on to claim Cheltenham Gold Cup glory in March.

However, after cutting out much of the running, the grey weakened quickly to finish sixth of seven finishers.

Twiston-Davies said: “He was very disappointing as I was really happy with him beforehand. Maybe people are right and he just needs that really soft ground.

“He was 100 per cent this morning, but I don’t know what we will do next. We will get him out as soon as it rains. We are still thinking about the Gold Cup and who knows, we might have a soft Cheltenham Gold Cup.”

The Welsh National is due to be restaged on January 6 – weather permitting – following the abandonment of yesterday’s Chepstow meeting.

Today’s meetings at Catterick and Leicester, meanwhile, need to pass early morning inspections.