Saturday 17 March 2018

Ryanair likely target for Rubi

Rubi Light looks set to skip the Cheltenham Gold Cup and have a second crack at the Ryanair Chase after being beaten into second in the Lexus Chase on Wednesday.

While Rubi Light's trainer Robbie Hennessy feels his star turn stayed the distance well enough, he is leaning towards the shorter Ryanair Chase -- in which he finished third last season -- rather than the showpiece event.

"Andrew (Lynch) came in and said our lad just didn't quite handle the faster ground. He'd definitely have preferred it softer but, saying that, a few others would probably have liked it more testing as well," he said.

"I think he stayed the three miles all right. He managed to hold off Quito De La Roque in the straight, which makes you think he stayed well.

"We won't make any decision yet but at this stage I'd be inclined to say he'll run in the Ryanair again at Cheltenham, rather than the Gold Cup. He's still only a six-year-old."

David Pipe's Notus De La Tour is set for a quick return to these shores following his second to Willie Mullins' Blackstairmountain at Leopardstown on St Stephen's Day.

"He could return for a crack at the Irish Arkle at the end of next month," the trainer revealed yesterday.

First Lieutenant will head straight for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham after his second behind Last Instalment in Wednesday's Fort Leney Novice Chase. The six-year-old is already a Festival winner, having won last season's Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, and Mouse Morris feels it is far too early to write off his stable star.

"He made a mistake at the second last which didn't help. I'm not saying he'd have won, but he'd have finished a good bit closer," said the trainer.

"Apart from that one mistake, I thought he jumped super -- the better ground obviously helped him so we'll give him a break now and go straight to Cheltenham for the RSA Chase."

At Taunton today all eyes will be another former Cheltenham winner when Menorah returns to fences. Winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 2010, he looked a certain victor on his fencing debut at Exeter only to crash out at the penultimate obstacle.

Philip Hobbs' charge has since run over hurdles at Cheltenham and looks to face a straight-forward task on his return to the larger obstacles.

Meanwhile, fire-fighting continued at Betfair yesterday after the betting exchange voided all in-running bets on the Leopardstown race involving Voler La Vedette.

More than £800,000 was matched by in-running punters. Betfair stated yesterday that the problem had been identified, and its correction was being rigorously tested. "We can confirm all in-running bets would have been voided, had Voler La Vedette won or lost."

Irish Independent

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