‘He’s not getting the credit he deserves’ – Greaneteen lands second celebration | Horse racing news

Alan Crowhurst

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Greeneteen: Defended the Celebration Chase at Sandown

Alan Crowhurst

By James Stevens

Saturday: Celebration Pursuit, Sandown

On the day Paul Nicholls was officially crowned champion for the 13th time, he produced a masterful final target practice performance of the season when Greeneteen returned to form to repeat his bet365 Celebration Chase success.

The Chris Giles star had a question to answer in his first appearance since his last place at the Dublin Racing Festival, where he was found to have an eye ulcer which forced him to miss Cheltenham. He was treated – with an ulcer yet to be removed on Monday – but Nicholls knew he was ready for action again and Sandown is where Greeneteen particularly thrives.

A red-hot Harry Cobden – fired up by victories at Knappers Hill and Saint Calvados – followed his stablemate Rouge Vif at first, but by the time Greaneteen and Cobden flew over the railroad fences they had developed an advantage significant over their four rivals.

Click here to watch the Celebration Chase replay

Nube Negra threatened and Harry Skelton positioned his competitor for an effort over the pond fence, but the leader asserted again. With two more decisive jumps, he started clear, Sceau Royal remaining to complete a second of 12 lengths. A year later, Greeneteen was just as good.

“You’re trying to get the right horses for those special days. I’m thrilled,” Nicholls said. “He gallops end to end and keeps going. You have to jump here, which he does very well and he stays strong.

“Harry has been really impressed with him and he just keeps getting better. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, he’s a very smart horse in his time. He keeps winning and that’s what you expect from a good horse.”

Minor surgery awaits Greeneteen next week as Nicholls already plots a route back to Sandown for Tingle Creek in December.

Edward Whitaker

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Greeneteen and Harry Cobden leave Nube Negra behind in Celebration Chase

Greeneteen and Harry Cobden leave Nube Negra behind in Celebration Chase

Edward Whitaker

Nicholls explained: “Something hit him and he spent three weeks at the vet. He is going to have surgery on Monday to remove an ulcer, which is minor but we have to do it. We had to deal with that but we knew we had prepared it.”

The notable change from last season was the pilot. Cobden replaced Bryony Frost on Greeneteen and it was the first time he had ridden the eight-year-old since the 2021 Champion Chase.

Nicholls stable jockey said: “Last year I was sitting at home watching this race with a broken cheek and a fractured hand so it wasn’t that exciting. I’m enjoying those wins much more than when I was 18.”

Skelton admitted Nube Negra never ‘great’ at Sandown but the praise simply went to his former boss.

“We were under pressure going to the Pond fence and I wish I had been on the bridle longer than that, but it’s been a long season and I take my hat off to the winner,” Skelton said.

“It’s another masterful training performance from Paul to be fifth out of five in Ireland 11 weeks ago and then to do this – that’s why he’s so hard to beat.”

Learn more about Sandown:

Sandown under fire after snubbing racegoers wearing white trainers

Don’t Stop Shark! Irish raider Hewick routs bet365 Gold Cup for Hanlon


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