LiveScore Racing News: Champion Chase the target for Greaneteen
Trainer Paul Nicholls says the Queen Mother Champion Chase is the aim for Greaneteen following his victory in Saturday's Tingle Creek Chase.
Greaneteen went off as a 12/1 shot to win the Grade One feature at Sandown, a year on from finishing runner up in the same race behind Politologue, but under the stewardship of jockey Bryony Frost, he went one better this time around, as he took up the lead over the penultimate fence.
The seven-year-old went on to win the race by five-and-a-half lengths from stablemate Hitman, who completed a one-two for trainer Nicholls, who was also winning the race for a record-extending 12th time.
Nicholls was certainly delighted with the efforts of Greaneteen at the Esher track, labelling it the gelding's best performance to date, while he also feels there is scope for the son of Great Pretender to continue improving.
"He is improving enormously all the time," Nicholls told reporters, as per Racing TV. "Today was the best I have ever seen him look. He is a young horse and he wasn't beaten far last year and we probably didn't ride him right.
"We didn't have enough belief in him to be honest, but he stays on really strongly now and you can ride him differently. He was beaten two lengths in the race last year and I know he has improved more than that."
Greaneteen finished fourth behind Put The Kettle On in last season's Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and Nicholls has now confirmed that will be the main aim for the Chris Giles-owned gelding once again.
"He is a real live contender for that (Champion Chase) and obviously loves it around here, but obviously the Champion Chase will be his target now," the Ditcheat handler added.
Nicholls also reserved special praise for Tingle Creek runner up Hitman, who he expects to continue improving off the back of his efforts at Sandown.
"I was pleased with Hitman," Nicholls continued. "He is only a five-year-old. He will have plenty of big days. He is improving and getting stronger all the time. For a five-year-old, that was a very good run from him as well. The best is yet to come from him."