Thursday 22 March 2018

'Poli' woe and 'Classic' blow for O'Leary jumping team

Eddie O'Leary. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Eddie O'Leary. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Eddie O'Leary has given an update on the Gigginstown jumpers which are easing back into action, with Don Poli deemed highly unlikely to run at all this season.

Gigginstown's racing manager stressed that the 2016 Gold Cup third, which suffered a serious leg injury shortly before the 2017 race, would not be rushed.

"It is hard to believe he is still only eight," O'Leary said. "He got a leg, though, and that takes time, so I'd say it's long odds-on he won't be seen this season.

"Valseur Lido, however, suffered a fracture and normally when a fracture is fixed, it's fine. He is back with Henry de Bromhead and easing back into it."


O'Leary marvelled at the progress the promising Three Swallowsnick, winner of a Listed Navan bumper in 2016, was making. She suffered a bad injury subsequently in a maiden hurdle at that track.

Read more: O'Brien eyes trial hat-trick for 'St George'

"They had to take a bone out of her pelvis, which was very serious, but she looks amazing. She is a novice hurdler for the season ahead, as is the likes of Blow By Blow, Samcro and Poli Roi," he added. All four are housed in the Gordon Elliott barn.

The news on Champagne Classic, a Cheltenham and Punchestown Grade One winner as a novice hurdler last season, was less favourable. The horse that Michael O'Leary memorably and erroneously called the worst horse he had when he scored at Cheltenham is out for the upcoming season.

On the Flat front, the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes picture was muddied as the 2016 hero Almanzor bombed on his comeback at Deauville yesterday, while another Gallic hope for Leopardstown, their champion three-year-old Brametot, was unable to claim another big prize in the Group Two Prix Guillaume d'Ornano.

Chris Wall's First Sitting took the Group Three Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club as Almanzor laboured as an also-ran, while Ryan Moore produced a superb front-running ride to score aboard Martyn Meade's Craven winner Eminent, with fellow British raider Salouen following him home in second. Brametot finished a well-beaten fifth.

Meade said Eminent was likely to return to France for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October, for which he is a 16/1 chance with Betway. King George winner Enable was cut to 5/4 for the race with the same firm.

Read more: 'Wellington' should give Gowran rivals the boot

Meanwhile, Willie Mullins is planning a fascinating campaign for Galway Mile winner Riven Light, which is being aimed at a clash with Australian wonder mare Winx when she bids to secure a third Ladbrokes Cox Plate victory on October 28.

September remains on course to put her unbeaten record and huge reputation on the line in the National Breast Cancer Research Debutante Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

After making a big impression on her racecourse debut at Leopardstown in June, the daughter of Deep Impact lined up in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and ran out an authoritative winner over subsequent Group Three scorer Nyaleti.


September is a best-priced 11/2 favourite for next year's 1,000 Guineas and looks set to step up to Group Two level this weekend.

Coral-Eclipse principals Ulysses and Barney Roy are on course to clash again in what is shaping up to be a fantastic renewal of the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday week.

The Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses edged out Richard Hannon's three-year-old colt by a nose in Sandown's ten-furlong showpiece and connections have confirmed both horses will head to the Knavesmire, where the opposition could include dual Guineas winner Churchill, with Aidan O'Brien angling towards a first shot at 10 furlongs.

Irish Independent

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