LUCKLEY trainer Martin Keighley wants to hand Champion Court a confidence- lifting run at Kempton before the Cheltenham Festival.

He felt the eight-year-old did not stay the three miles in heavy ground when fourth to Long Run in the King George VI Chase and wants to try over a similar trip in better conditions.

But first Keighley is dropping Champion Court back to two-and-a-half miles and in grade ahead of March’s big meeting where he has entries in the Ryanair Chase and Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He said: “In the King George he didn’t stay the three miles in heavy ground and I don’t see the point in running again over that trip on that ground.

“Ideally, good to soft suits him. He’s got some cracking form on that ground.

For the Festival, the Ryanair would be first preference this year and hopefully he could be a Gold Cup horse next season.

“A graduation chase at Kempton is ideal.

“It would be an easier option for him and great for him to get his head in front before Cheltenham so he would go there full of confidence.”