Friday 23 August 2019

O'Brien hopes Reel has one dance left

Mark Walsh and Cantlow skip clear over the final fence to land the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Mark Walsh and Cantlow skip clear over the final fence to land the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Johnny Ward

Aidan O'Brien is hopeful that a tough campaign has not taken the edge off Highland Reel, which signs off for the year in the Longines Hong Kong Vase, run at 6am Irish time tomorrow, at Sha Tin.

A brilliant winner at the Breeders' Cup, it may be the son of Galileo's last run, with his future undecided. He has finished in the first two in 12 of his 19 starts, winning over €5m of prize-money.

"He wouldn't be doing much at home since America, it being a busy year, but he seems to be fine," O'Brien said.

"He handled the track well last year and he is an incredible horse, the way he travels, the way he tackles all the big races.

"He always had that temperament to travel, he has been very genuine since his two-year-old days; he can lead or sit in too. "You'd just be hoping there is enough left after a long season and we'll see about his future afterwards."

There was one Irish winner at Cheltenham yesterday as Cantlow put his previous lacklustre Cheltenham visit well behind him with an authoritative success in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

While finishing well held at the Festival in March, the JP McManus-owned 11-year-old looked a different proposition on this occasion to give trainer race specialist Enda Bolger back-to-back wins.

Taking the running up at midway, the 13/8 chance only needed to be nudged out by Mark Walsh to take the three-and-three-quarter-mile event by nine lengths.

Irish Independent

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