Matt Chapman on his big fancy for the Gold Cup, his respect for Politologue and the social media storm around Altior

THERE was as much talk in the Tingle Creek about who didn't run as who landed the prize, while there was a shock winner of the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree.

But who or what has made it to my latest Good, Bad & Ugly column? Let's find out…


I'm all over Santini for the Gold Cup in March, and nothing he did at Aintree on Saturday changed my mind.

For those of you who are not aware, Santini returned this term with a battling second to Lakeview Lad in the Many Clouds Chase, eventually being beaten a length.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has always said Santini is hard to get fit, and although he had a racecourse gallop he will clearly improve massively for the effort. 

Santini takes some riding, and I would like to suggest to Hendo that he keeps the idea of blinkers or a visor up his sleeve come Gold Cup day.

I think the headgear could prove a secret weapon. In fact I'm sure of it. This is one of my better ideas!

I'm off to David Pipe's yard on Thursday for Sky Sports and I can't wait to see prolific winner Main Fact and, of course, Vieux Lion Rouge.

The old boy was just terrific round the Aintree fences once again in the Becher Chase and Pipe deserves much credit for keeping his enthusiasm.

Most of all the 11-year-old is a classic example of a horse who just loves to race. Amazing to think some ill-informed people would love to ban a sport that brings a horse so much pleasure.


I put myself in this column as I haven't given Politologue the respect he deserves.

He was fabulous in the Tingle Creek and there are few better sights than a dashing grey spring-heeled over Sandown's famous Railway fences.

We have seen it with One Man and Desert Orchid and there can't be a racing fan that doesn't get a kick out of it. 

Politologue is not a world beater. He is not Altior, Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded, Moscow Flyer, Remittance Man, Viking Flagship or Badsworth Boy. But he's terrific.

He turns up. And he brings pleasure. Well done to John Hales and Paul Nicholls.

I am now a Politologue fan – for all that he won't win another Champion Chase!


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Social media abuse gets worse on a daily basis, and the nonsense spewed out over Altior not going in the Tingle Creek was ridiculous. It was ugly.

Let's get one thing straight, Altior could have run at Sandown. He acts on the ground that was on offer and he probably would have won. 

However, Nicky Henderson decided that to have Altior at his best for the Champion Chase in March – which like it or not is the Champions League Final for two-mile chasers – it was in the best interests of his horse not to take part.

Premier League teams rest top players even in important matches, and this is no different. It's not that Cheltenham is the be all and end all, and if Altior was a few years younger he would have gone at the weekend.

But Altior is in just about last chance saloon as far as winning another Champion Chase is concerned. 

I am enjoying the rivalry between Hendo and Nicholls by the way. It's spicy and fun. Like a good curry – with extra onion bhajis and mango chutney. Yeeehaaa!


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