8 months ago



RACING LEOPARDSTOWN 3-4 February Edited by Hannah Lemieux @hannah_lemieux1 Samcro (Jack Kennedy) annihilates the opposition to win the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle and maintain his unbeaten record Superstar Samcro Samcro lives up to the hype, Edwulf comes back from the dead and Supasundae downs Faugheen at the Dublin Racing Festival Leopardstown, Ireland IRELAND’S new Dublin Racing Festival seemed to gain instant traction in terms of quality of racing and popularity with the crowds. It had a bit of everything, including the confirmation By MARCUS ARMYTAGE that Faugheen is probably not the Faugheen of old, plus some surprises including the heartwarming victory of Edwulf in the Irish Gold Cup and the superb jumping of the novices Footpad and Monalee, however, capping it all was the pure brilliance of Samcro. Some, including myself, may have been slightly sceptical of all the lavish praise heaped upon the Gigginstown-owned six-year-old gelding by Germany, however, you will not see many novices travel with such contemptuous ease through a race as Samcro did in the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle. Gigginstown owner Michael O’Leary has been trying to douse the flames of hype and, though he is a great businessman, achieving that aim is going to be beyond 64 Horse & Hound 8 February 2018

NOTEBOOK... THE Dublin Racing Festival may be a destination in itself but it also highlighted some of the exciting Irish prospects for the “away match” in the Cotswolds in March. One imagines Footpad (pictured) will be an Irish banker in the Arkle after making all the running in the Grade One Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase. Ironically, the best of the British seems to be Alan King’s Sceau Royal — who is also owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. However, there won’t be many that can match Footpad this side of the Irish Sea — or indeed Petit Mouchoir, who finished runner-up. The latter kept up with Footpad for much of the way, but didn’t jump as well, however, he stayed on, which might be in his favour up the Cheltenham hill. Footpad, on the other hand, does not jump like a novice and barely breaks stride to jump. “He jumps like a stag,” said jockey Paul Townend. “You’d swear he has been jumping fences all his life. It was a great thrill riding him — he was deadly.” Meanwhile, the Henry de Bromhead-trained Monalee made all and jumped like a proverbial buck under Noel Fehily to win the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase by three-quarters of a length. He had fallen on his previous start but you would never have known it. There was a lot to like about his performance, aside from his jumping, which will win him plenty of races. It looked like five or six horses might have swamped him at the last, but Fehily had kept a bit up his sleeve. As the runner-up in last year’s Albert Bartlett, he should figure prominently in this year’s RSA Chase at the Festival. “The horse had a bad fall at Christmas and it ONES TO WATCH took him a week to get over it but he’s hardy,” said de Bromhead, who is a great advocate of loose schooling. “To come straight back into a Grade One was throwing him in the deep end but it is testament to the horse.” him — the horse will go to Cheltenham as the odds-on favourite for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle with the Irish economy probably riding on him. It will be no surprise if the trainers of horses with decent chances in the two-and-a-half mile Ballymore think again about whether the Supreme or Albert Bartlett might be a more winnable option, because if Samcro turns up there will only be one winner. At Leopardstown and over two miles, he never came out of first gear cruising to the smoothest of wins by five lengths and maintaining his 100% record — one point-to-point, three bumpers and now three hurdles victories. “He’s going the right way,” said O’Leary, who does not care much for hurdle races. “He’s still not Jesus Christ but hopefully he will be when he wins a chase, a proper race!” Edwulf heads for a fairytale success in the Grade One Irish Gold Cup Pictures by Steve Davies/ and PA Images 8 February 2018 Horse & Hound 65

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