Thursday 26 April 2018

O'Leary hails De Bromhead factor

Identity Thief, under Bryan Cooper, winning at Punchestown last Sunday. Photo credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Identity Thief, under Bryan Cooper, winning at Punchestown last Sunday. Photo credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Johnny Ward

Eddie O'Leary has hailed Henry de Bromhead after terrific performances from Gigginstown's horses in his care this season.

Moreover, he has revealed that it's likely both Petit Mouchoir and Apple's Jade will represent the operation in Saturday's Fighting Fifth Hurdle, though it will not have a runner in the Hennessy Gold Cup.

It was De Bromhead who trained Identity Thief to win the Newcastle race last year. Now a novice chaser, he has helped the Gigginstown-De Bromhead axis to a terrific start to the campaign, with Valseur Lido and Sub Lieutenant the other stars.

Valseur Lido is perhaps more likely to go to the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown at Christmas than the King George, though it remains undecided. Both his performance in the Grade One feature and Sub Lieutenant's in the Grade Two lit up Chase Day at Down Royal recently.

Both have moved to De Bromhead this season and O'Leary said: "It's either the King George or the Lexus for Valseur Lido (but) we are kind of fond of the Lexus.

"He was going to win the Hennessy last year only to fall. He gave an exhibition of jumping since he moved to Henry de Bromhead; he seems to have improved his jumping no end.

"Sub Lieutenant and Valseur Lido were very sketchy jumpers with their previous trainers; they both give exhibitions for Henry. Long may it last."

O'Leary has defended Apple's Jade for her odds-on defeat at Down Royal and believes she will show herself in a better light at Newcastle on Saturday, with Petit Mouchoir - which was third in the same race - set to join her.

"When she won by a huge margin last season, Aintree was very soft and she was not letting herself down on the ground at Down Royal.

"She is not at Gordon's long at all - about a month after leaving Willie Mullins. She wasn't fit: she gave a heave. We hope to see the benefit of that and plenty of improvement now.

"One wouldn't know a horse in four weeks. Both (Mullins and Elliott) are brilliant trainers - I've nothing against either - but it's hard to get to know a horse in four weeks. She'll likely run Saturday pending a successful scope."

O'Leary added that Empire Of Dirt, Thunder Of Roses, Folsom Blue and Akorakor will likely be part of Gigginstown's Ladbrokes Troytown team on Sunday at Navan.

Andrew Lynch's injury frustration has gotten worse and he will be out for at least three more weeks. He has not ridden since breaking a bone in his arm in late August.

"I thought I'd be let back but I've broken it before and my surgeon won't let me back until it's 100pc. I've been riding out and flat out in the gym. I'm praying I'll be back at Christmas. I'll go to whatever meeting necessary to get rides and winners. It's deeply frustrating."

At Wetherby yesterday, Armagh native Brian Hughes continued his rich vein of form with a double thanks to Kalaniti and Cooking Fat. His monthly tally is now an incredible 29, with another six days in which to add to it.

He had what looked another very good book of rides and it could have been another memorable afternoon as three other mounts finished second - one of which came on the Queen's Fort Bridge, which was reeled in by Alan King's Couer De Lion (9/4 favourite).

Meanwhile, Red Marauder, 2001 Grand National winner, has died at the age of 26; smart hurdler Black Jack Ketchum has also passed away and Barters Hill has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

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