Wednesday 18 October 2017

No rider agreed for Monalee ahead of RSA bid

Henry De Bromhead is unsure who will ride Monalee, with the potential to be a top-class chaser, this season. Stock photo: Getty Images
Henry De Bromhead is unsure who will ride Monalee, with the potential to be a top-class chaser, this season. Stock photo: Getty Images

Johnny Ward

Henry De Bromhead is unsure who will ride Monalee, with the potential to be a top-class chaser, this season.

The Milan-bred was edged out of it in the Albert Bartlett last year by Penhill but, described in the past as "a lovely horse - a real chaser in the making" by his trainer, he could emerge into a Gold Cup contender next year.

Before that there is the RSA Chase in March and that is likely to be the main aim for Monalee, which unsurprisingly has jockeys queuing up to ride him.

Grand National-winning pilot David Mullins was his regular partner last season, while De Bromhead also uses Andrew Lynch regularly, with Bryan Cooper and Noel Fehily also potentially in the running.

"He is in good form, with his return likely at the end of October or in early November. Nothing is confirmed as yet (regarding his rider)," the trainer said.

Monalee is as big as 16/1 for the RSA Chase, Death Duty the same despite taking his chase debut on Tuesday.

De Bromhead should have an exciting season, with Valseur Lido closing in on his comeback run, which is likely in Down Royal's feature on November 4. According to Gigginstown's Eddie O'Leary, the operation is also aiming Outlander and Disko at that meeting.

O'Leary cast doubt on the highest-rated runner left in the Ladbrokes Munster National on Sunday taking his chance, which could prove beneficial to low-rated runners in the handicap, notably the intriguing Total Recall.

Read more: O'Brien could fly Classic 'Flag' in 2018

Devils Bride, Alpha Des Obeaux, Rogue Angel, Arkwrisht and Net D'Ecosse are in the race for Michael O'Leary. His brother said: "We're looking to run all, maybe not Devils Bride."

That would leave Arbre De Vie top weight and bring stablemate Total Recall into the handicap proper, with Ruby Walsh potentially able to ride. "Both are intended runners at Limerick," said trainer Willie Mullins.

Total Recall is a general 6/1 shot, bookmakers wary that switching to Willie Mullins could see the horse progress, as so many have before. He won three races for Sandra Hughes, who has retired from training. If the weight is too low for Walsh, Danny Mullins, who is having an excellent season, could potentially get the nod to steer for his uncle.

Across the water, the British Horseracing Authority's controversial senior handicapper Phil Smith has announced that he will retire from the BHA at the end of July 2018. Smith, whose handicapping of Irish horses has long been criticised, has given 22 years of service for the regulatory body.

Smith nears a career end but Ana O'Brien is aiming to return despite suffering horrific injuries in a Killarney fall in July. "As soon as I get the all-clear, I can't wait to get back riding out. However, it might be the new year before I get back in the saddle," she told a Horse Racing Ireland blog.

At Tramore today, his local track, de Bromhead should have a profitable visit, with Mullinavat due a belated success hurdling under Sean Flanagan. The nap, however, goes to Austin Leahy's Wait Here in what looks a dire opening maiden hurdle.

Irish Independent

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