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Stable Talk with Gloucestershire racehorse trainer Martin Keighley

By GlosRacing  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

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There was to be no fairytale ending to Champion Court's 'prep' run at Kempton when he was beaten by a neck into second place. 

Frustratingly he's not managed to get his head in front for his last five runs and indeed since New Year's Day 2012.

Despite always running his heart out he's usually just found one horse too good.

The list of horses who have beaten him really is a classy list of horses but it is a such a shame for Champ as he deserves to win a race after so many gallant runs. 

He now heads straight to the Festival at Cheltenham next month and is having a quiet couple of weeks before we start the build up for it.

Although he's still been left in the Gold Cup at this stage, the main aim remains the Ryanair Chase on the Thursday unless something dramatically changes.

Our physio Maggie Turner checked Champ over earlier this week and was delighted with how he has come out of the race, which is a relief, so it will soon be all systems go.

Annacotty pleased me in the bumper at Kempton, finishing third behind two very nice rivals on his debut for me.

He may well go straight over hurdles now as he is a chaser in the making, having won a point-to-point in Ireland. 

Following Seymour Eric's third win for us at Huntingdon, the handicapper has put him up a further 10lb in weight.

It has resulted in a huge 35lb hike since he joined us in the summer.

Often trainers and owners are frustrated when the handicapper appears heavy-handed on horses after they have run well or won.

However, in this case his owners are delighted as they are keen to have a runner at the Cheltenham Festival. 

The higher he is in the handicap the more chance he has of getting a run and not being balloted out.

Eric runs again tomorrow in a Pertemps qualifier at Haydock and the final of this series would be his Festival aim were he to run well again at Haydock and go up again in the weights. 

My other runners tomorrow include Mauricetheathlete in the same race as Seymour Eric. 

Maurice is in great form and will be partnered by his owners' grandson Nick Slatter as normal. 

Creepy makes his reappearance in the Albert Barlett Novices' Hurdle at Haydock tomorrow.

He's not been seen out since finishing fourth behind Coneygree at Cheltenham in November, which was his debut over hurdles. 

He's a lovely horse but as he is only just five years old I felt he needed a bit of time, so he's had a break over Christmas.

He also needed to sharpen up on his jumping as he wasn't great at Cheltenham, so we have worked hard on him schooling him as much as possible and I'm hoping to see an improvement. 

The weights were announced for the Grand National on Tuesday and Any Currency has been allotted 9st 10lb.

He needs the top two in the handicap to come out so the weights rise 4lb and allow him to run off a true racing weight as if they don't he will carry 10st because that is the minimum weight and so he'd be carrying 4lb more than he should be.

He is also 66th in the list and between now and Grand National Day needs 26 horses to be scratched to enable him to get a run.

Over the past ten years he'd have got a run if he started in this position at the weights launch so I'm hoping the statistics work out again this year.

It would be agonising to miss out by one place like we did in 2012 when he was 41st in the list. 

He is in good form and, touch wood, everything is so far going to plan with him. 

I'm delighted that the rain and sunshine over the last couple of days has got rid of the snow, although with Freddie and his friends on half term this past week they couldn't have planned the snowfall earlier in the week any better and the sledges were back out again temporarily!

I'm hoping that is the end of it now, though, and we could do without rain for a while too to help everything dry up a little.

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