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Bleu potential diverts Walsh

Ruby Walsh's late diversion to Huntingdon just about paid off with his only ride Sang Bleu managing a rather unconvincing success in the freebets.co.uk Chatteris Fen Juvenile Novices' Hurdle.

The jockey is a rare sighting at the Cambridgeshire course and grabbed a last-minute flight from Ireland when he learned the meeting at Thurles had been abandoned.

This informative little event had lost the draw of ante-post Triumph Hurdle favourite Mille Chief, not declared due to a dirty scope, leaving the Paul Nicholls-trained Sang Bleu a 4/7 shot against four rivals.


But a bid for the juvenile title at Cheltenham looks unlikely for the angular French import, perhaps a longer-term prospect who was a shade slow at many of the flights.

Stars Du Granits made him work very hard too, leading for much of the way and surrendering by just half a length in a battle down the home straight.

Walsh said: "I was on my way to Willie Mullins' when I got a call from the general manager of Thurles to say it was off.

"My wife Gillian packed a bag for me and the nice people at Aer Lingus got me on the 10.20 flight to come here.

"Everything about the horse suggests he'll improve, he's very green and doesn't ride like a Flat horse, more like a bumper horse. You wouldn't mind riding him over a fence tomorrow."

Owner Simon Munir's bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley added: "As Paul is not here we have not made a decision on the Triumph but you can see what you can from this.

"He's not the finished article and wants to jump a fence. He'll be pretty awesome over fences. He wasn't bought as a Triumph Hurdle horse but it was nice to see him battle away like that."

A few years ago when trained by Henrietta Knight, Ringaroses was being talked about in a similar vein but his decline resulted in his price of 14/1 for the gambull.co.uk Gambull Online Betting Novices' Handicap Chase.

Now nine, Ringaroses had missed a lot of time through injury and Knight suggested the owners allow him a change of scenery, with this being his second run for Jonjo O'Neill after a pipe-opener late last year.

He looked to have regained his appetite for racing under Tony McCoy, taking a prominent position in the home straight and eventually scoring by three and a quarter lengths.

"He's always had ability and won here last May for Henrietta but he just can't jump, which is a small problem," said O'Neill.

"He might run in the Pertemps Final over hurdles."

The remainder of the card provided a 209/1 double for Richard Phillips.


King Jack (14/1) finally found his feet over fences under Warren Marston in the freebets.co.uk Free Bets Handicap Chase before the Sean Quinlan-ridden Good For Blue struck at the same price in the gambull.co.uk Gambull Free 120 Free Bets Handicap Hurdle.

Andrew Tinkler was stood down after a fall from Pasdelou but was expected to be fit to resume on Friday.

Sona Sasta (11/4 joint-favourite) capitalised upon a crucial error by Immense at the penultimate flight to snatch the freebets.co.uk Handicap Hurdle.

Alan King's Hurricane Milly (11-2) blew away the opposition in the DBS mares' bumper.

King said: "She might be one for Aintree but could go for the sales race at Doncaster."

The Gambull-sponsored Hunters' Chase went to 40/1 outsider Accumulus.