Monday 11 December 2017

Monday Outlook

Ride of the weekend

Ruby Walsh was excellent on Sanctuaire in the Scottish Champion Hurdle. In one sense, it was a typically consummate big-race steer from Walsh, but the fact that he does it so frequently shouldn't exclude him from praise. Sanctuaire can be ruinously keen, so Walsh's ability to get him settled before producing him to lead at the last, after Bygones Of Brid and Overturn had gone at it tooth and nail, was commendable.

Training performance of the weekend

Henry Cecil measured it just right for Frankel's reappearance at Newbury on Saturday.

Just one of the last six 2,000 Guineas winners, Makfi, has contested a trial, so Cecil's decision to give a run to the hot favourite for the season's opening Classic was of note. Having not been able to work Frankel on grass due to the dry spring, Cecil knew his horse would need the race for fitness purposes, but, given the way the Galileo colt fought for his head on Saturday, it's also likely that the run was vital to knock the gas out of him.

It will take something special to beat him in a fortnight.

National pointers

Saturday's Scottish Grand National provided a thrilling 'National' spectacle for a second successive weekend. Always Right's effort to be third after a mistake two out was of merit given his lack of experience, while Merigo ran a blinder for a horse that had hardly raised a gallop since winning in 2010.

Beshabar, of course, thrust himself into next year's Aintree picture with a bold display from the front. Moreover, as a novice, his win served as a timely reminder of that contingent's fine record in next week's Irish National, with two of the last four Fairyhouse heroes also being novices.

Buoyed stable

James McCabe has run just three horses from his Newbridge stable this term, and a win in the opener at Navan yesterday his Lechevalier Choisi clearly prompted thoughts of a quick double. Cultec Dot Ie, a half-sister to Lechevalier Choisi, was backed from 50/1 into 14/1 to make a successful debut an hour later; she never threatened to match McCabe's previous career tally of two in one afternoon.

Jury still out on Fame

Fame And Glory did just enough to land short odds in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan yesterday. While it might have been unsatisfactory to watch, on his first try at 1m 6f it was significant that he at least kept on all the way to the line. It may not have told us much about where his future lies, but it's worth remembering that he failed to win on his debut 12 months ago. He could still be a Cup horse.

Numbers game

1 Chris Hayes got off the mark for the Flat season by winning on James McCabe's Lechevalier Choisi at Navan.

Irish Independent

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