Stable-staff bonus holds key to Let's Dance Festival plans
The carrot of a bonus for stable staff is strongly influencing the decision on where to run Let's Dance at the Cheltenham Festival, connections say.
The novice is one of many people's bankers of the week after her Leopardstown rout in the Lacy & Partners Solicitors Hurdle in January. The sponsor's Nat Lacy announced then that he would donate €50,000 to the relevant yard's staff if the winner followed up in any event at Cheltenham.
"We're surprised that so little has been said about this," said Joe Chambers, Rich Ricci's racing manager. "It is not lost on Rich, (wife) Susannah or I that were the mare to win any race at Cheltenham it is the stable staff at Willie Mullins's that would benefit from this to the tune of a grand or the guts of a grand each.
"Rich's thinking and mine is you'd rather make sure you do your best to land the €50,000 regardless of the race. We completely accept she has a stamina-laden pedigree but she was fourth in the Triumph, will be on a stiffer track against her own sex and is a second-season novice against some inexperienced mares.
"Were there no bonus it might be she would go for the Neptune or Albert Bartlett, but they look hotter races at present with a fortnight to the Festival."
Let's Dance is a best-quote 5/2 for the Dawn Run Mares' Novice Hurdle on Thursday, March 16, having been well-supported yesterday.
It appears that Moon Racer, which had been backed into favourite for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle, may switch to the Stan James Champion Hurdle on Tuesday week.
He was weak in the Supreme market on the exchanges yesterday and a decision is to be made late. JP McManus' racing manager Frank Berry said Movewiththetimes is set to run in that race.
Berry added that Mark Walsh can expect plenty of rides at the Festival due to Barry Geraghty's injury, while he reported that Foxhunter Chase favourite On The Fringe was in especially good form.
Meanwhile, multiple Group One-winning sprinter Sole Power has been retired, his trainer Eddie Lynam has announced.
The 10-year-old has run three times at this year's Dubai Carnival, finishing sixth in the Meydan Sprint two weeks ago, but Lynam has decided the time is right to bring his stable stalwart's brilliant career to an end.
"We've decided to call it a day with him. He was a great horse, but time waits for no one and he's been retired. Now we've announced the news it is only now that it really hits home," he said.
Sole Power's fifth and final Group One success came in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in 2015.
Rider Chris Hayes paid glowing tribute to the horse, saying: "It was a privilege to have ridden him and an even bigger privilege to have won on him."
Gigginstown and retained rider Bryan Cooper enjoyed a double yesterday at Clonmel, 1/5 chance Monbeg Chit Chat and Clara Sorrento (9/1) enjoying maiden hurdle wins.
Lambs Lane was given a 42-day suspension and rider James O'Sullivan a five-day ban over the horse's performance in the opener.
Trainer Philip Rothwell said that he felt that the rider could have been more forceful later in the race, his horse eventually finishing fifth. The finding is part of the Turf Club's new rules on running and riding enquiries.