sport

Court absent at Cheltenham

Champion Court will not take his chance in the Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Martin Keighley's stable star made a gallant bid to lead from start to finish in the Peterborough Chase, but was only beaten half a length by Riverside Theatre despite being inconvenienced by his saddle slipping in the closing stages.

Keighley had left the eight-year-old in the valuable handicap chase at the 48-hour final declaration stage as a precaution.

Champion Court holds an entry in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, in which he was fourth 12 months ago. Although Keighley has not ruled out another crack at the Christmas showpiece, he feels it may come too soon.

"He deserved to win really. His saddle slipped after the second last. Even when the saddle slipped, if he had winged the last he would have won," said the Condicote trainer.

"It was nice to see him back on top form.

"The King George might come a bit early for him. We'll monitor that and see how he is. It's only two weeks away.

"If he seems fresh and well and the ground's not too soft, we might do (run in the King George). We'll just have to see."