Riverside Theatre takes centre stage in Peterborough

Last updated: 12th December 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Riverside Theatre takes centre stage in Peterborough

Riverside Theatre (nearest) still has a length to find upon landing over the final fence

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Riverside Theatre stayed on to claim victory for Nicky Henderson in the Betfred Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

Champion Court turned the extended two and a half-mile event into a gruelling test with a bold front-running display and several of his rivals were forced into jumping mistakes along the way.

Riverside Theatre first came under pressure with just less than a circuit to travel but Barry Geraghty never gave up on the well-backed 9/4 favourite and stayed close enough to mount a renewed challenge late on.

Ghizao, Captain Chris and Module were all fought off by gallant runner-up Champion Court after holding every chance turning in, but Riverside Theatre jumped the last fence well and had enough momentum to overhaul the long-time leader claim the spoils by half a length.

Henderson told Racing UK: "Barry said he knew he'd won at the second last. He does finish his races well as we've seen before in races such as the Ryanair Chase.

"He probably wants further these days, it was sharp enough round here and they took him off his feet early.

"Last year in the middle part of races not a lot was happening but he's finished well today. He's not lazy, it's just possibly a lack of pace now.

"We've done an awful lot of different things with him - his wind, his ulcers. He wears 'a duvet' in the parade ring. Whether they're making any difference or not I'm not sure. Maybe some cheekpieces might make a different at some stage.

"That's too sharp for him now, he wants three miles. I don't know about the King George, I'm not going to say we wouldn't do it, but we'll see how he is.

"It might not strike as the most obvious thing to do at the minute but he's still in it and the option is there. Jimmy (Nesbitt, owner) has the told me has the day off so we'll see! Later on, something like three miles at Newbury is what he'd want."Geraghty added on Racing UK: "Things weren't looking brilliant down the back, but he closed back up on the leaders turning in and I didn't have an awful lot of ground to make up.

"I thought from the back of the second-last we should nearly win, the way he was running on. I knew he'd stay well.

"Two and half around here is on the sharp side for him. We went a nice even gallop and I was happy with where I was. I would have liked to have travelled easier, I suppose.

"He struggled in the Ryanair the year he won it. He's not a horse who travels through his races as well as he should.

"You'd imagine a stiffer track, or further, or both, is going to help him.

"The run should bring him on, but he's a horse who goes well fresh. He's better undercooked than overcooked."

The winner was cut to 25/1 from 33s by Sky Bet for the King George VI Chase at Kempton, while the third home Captain Chris, runner-up to Long Run in the Boxing Day feature 12 months ago, is 12/1 from 16/1 for the same event.

Sky Bet's Michael Shinners said: "Riverside Theatre has done well to win from that position but this may have been his day in receipt of weight from most of his rivals.

"Captain Chris could be the one to take from the race as he was conceding weight all round and he's likely to head back for another crack at the King George."

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