Ruby plots Japan raid
Ruby Walsh is anticipating an improved performance from Blackstairmountain in next month's Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan.
The eight-year-old had his first taste of Japanese racing when unplaced in the Pegasus Jump Stakes at Nakayama last Saturday, but Walsh believes the experience should stand him in good stead for the April 13 feature. Blackstairmountain will also be stepping up half a mile in trip to two miles and five furlongs, another factor Walsh counts in the favour of Willie Mullins' charge.
"The race was a real education, with Blackstairmountain only managing to finish ninth of the 12 finishers," he said. "It was so different to what we are used to that I'd say Sprinter Sacre would definitely get beaten at the first time of asking at Nakayama.
"We started from stalls and I had a bad draw in 12. We went like the hammers of hell throughout, on ground I would describe as green tarmac. The fences were soft and jumping through them, rather than over, was the right way to do things. But Blackstairmountain wasn't used to that."