Thursday 14 December 2017

Lido puts glint of Gold in De Bromhead yard

Valseur Lido and Ruby Walsh on their way to winning the Chase. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Valseur Lido and Ruby Walsh on their way to winning the Chase. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

When Henry de Bromhead lost the patronage of Alan and Ann Potts earlier this year, it was not difficult to envisage the stable taking years to recover. Within months, he had a Gold Cup contender.

Valseur Lido, one of 15 horses his barn welcomed as part of the Willie Mullins-Gigginstown split, produced a superb and near-flawless performance at a sunny Down Royal yesterday, taking the Chase with such ease as to render him a genuine Gold Cup contender. This was the stable's 15th Grade One winner.

Ruby Walsh had a choice before this race: Valseur Lido or Don Poli. With the ground faster than normal for the time of year, he picked Valseur Lido and snubbed that one's former stablemate Don Poli, which gave the impression he'd rather have stayed in his new stable.

Even by his own lazy/slow standards, Don Poli was a major let-down. Perhaps fitness was an issue but it will not be a problem for Barry Geraghty after this, as he was stoking the horse practically from the first fence, pulling him up after the fourth last.

Meanwhile, Valseur Lido was cantering and picked off the leader, one-time Gold Cup favourite Silviniaco Conti, as if he were joining in at the second last. He eased away for an 11-length win, suggesting that the general 16s he was cut to for the Gold Cup is an attractive price.

De Bromhead, ever diplomatic, paid tribute to the Potts for their years of patronage but added he was honoured to have the new Gigginstown runners. "This horse did a bit of work during the week that had us really impressed - the pace he was showing for a staying chaser," he said.

"Ann and Alan were fantastic supporters for years and we had some great times together. That chapter of my life was brilliant but this is a new episode now. The O'Learys have been very supportive and to have a Gold Cup contender is unbelievable."

Gordon Elliott is new to Don Poli and the alliance seemingly needs time if this is any indication. He quipped: "What can you say about that? He is slow and maybe we will have to think about the Grand National as a long-term plan now."

It got better for De Bromhead in the Grade Two Titanic Belfast Chase when Sub Lieutenant produced a virtuoso performance of jumping under David Mullins. Backed from 5/1 yesterday into an SP of 6/4, he provided Gigginstown with a one-two, as Outlander chased him home.

"He absolutely loved jumping; he can't wait to jump once he sees a fence. The John Durkan is a possibility," said De Bromhead.

When Karl Thornton bought Wakea in February, he couldn't get away from the possibility that the price-tag - 16,500gns - was too good to be true. "I even had to sit up on him the following morning to put my mind at ease," said the Dubliner, who was beaming in the sunshine as Wakea bolted up in the €40,000 handicap hurdle under Donagh Meyler.

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