Wednesday 22 November 2017

Setback forces Hennessy to take 'Light' out of Down Royal

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

HAVING crashed out with a Grade Two chase at his mercy on his reappearance, Rubi Light's luckless start to the new campaign has continued, with trainer Robbie Hennessy revealing that the six-year-old will miss Saturday's Champion Chase as a result of a viral infection.

Rubi Light had the reigning champion chaser Sizing Europe well held before falling at the final fence at Gowran Park last month.

Remounted by Davy Russell to finish third, he had been contesting favouritism for the Down Royal Grade One, but a below-par piece of work yesterday gave his Ratoath handler cause for concern.

"Unfortunately Rubi Light won't be running on Saturday," Hennessy said. "He didn't work great this morning so we got the vets to do a few tests on him and he's shown to have a viral infection, which will knock him back around a week. It's disappointing."

Hennessy added that Rubi Light's alternative targets include the Betfair Chase at Haydock -- a race that is likely to feature the seasonal bow of this year's Gold Cup hero Long Run, as well as that of the former dual Cheltenham winner Kauto Star -- on November 19, and the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown on December 11.

The Colm Murphy-trained Quito De La Roque is the clear favourite for Saturday's race at 11/4, though he has also the option of the Grade Two Chase on the same card, or the Clonmel Oil Chase tomorrow week.

Jessica Harrington's RSA Chase winner Bostons Angel is next best at 7/2, followed by Paul Nicholls' 9/2 shot The Nightingale, which won the Grade Two event at the meeting 12 months ago.

Sizing Europe trades at half a point longer, but Henry de Bromhead has yet to commit his charge to the race in which he was second to Kauto Star last year.

Another Cheltenham Festival winner, What A Charm, is one of 23 entries for Sunday's Leopardstown November Handicap.

Also on Sunday, 17 are engaged in the Cork Grand National, with the sponsors installing Tom Taaffe's Smoking Aces -- which runs in the colours of JP McManus -- as the 9/2 favourite.

In that fixture's Grade Three novice chase, De Valira and First Lieutenant, separated by a nose when the former prevailed at the Mallow venue three weeks ago, are among seven potential runners.

Meanwhile, John Oxx has revealed that Born To Sea remains a contender for next year's 2,000 Guineas, despite Sea The Stars' brother drifting from 7/1 to 14/1 for the Newmarket Classic following his defeat to Nephrite on Sunday. It subsequently came to light that the Invincible Spirit colt had torn a muscle in his hindquarters.

"That would still be the plan," the Curragh handler said yesterday of the Guineas. "We still think he's done enough that he can be considered for the Guineas."

Irish Independent

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