Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Sore' Pandorama finished for season

Pandorama. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Pandorama. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Pandorama will not run again this season after returning home sore following his efforts in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Trainer Noel Meade had been concerned about the quickening ground at Prestbury Park and while Pandorama performed with credit to finish seventh, the County Meath handler felt conditions did not suit.

"He's sore enough at the minute and it will be a week or two before we know exactly how he's come out of the race," said Meade. "He's definitely finished for the season and we'll just have to monitor him for the next fortnight and see. He ran a good race considering the ground was too quick for him."

Meade's Realt Dubh performed admirably to finish third in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy and he is likely to see the racecourse again before the season is out.

"He ran a very good race and we have no excuses, he was just beaten by better horses," Meade said. "I'd say he'll go again somewhere. He'll either go to Punchestown for the two-mile novice or to Fairyhouse for the Powers Gold Cup over two and a half miles. A lot will depend on the ground."

Captain Cee Bee will bid for back-to-back Punchestown Festival victories following his fine effort in last week's Queen Mother Champion Chase. Eddie Harty's star was far from disgraced in finishing third behind Sizing Europe over two miles at Cheltenham and the trainer is now looking forward to his next outing.

"He's come out of the race great and we were delighted with his performance," said Harty. "I suppose if you were being super analytical you could say he would have run even better if the ground was quicker and they'd gone a faster pace, but we can't complain as he's run very well to finish third.

"All being well, he'll go to Punchestown next. He was good there last year and hopefully he can show his best again. Next season we could try him over two and a half miles, but we'll just see how we get on."

Oscars Well is another heading to Punchestown, but the gelding is set to drop to the minimum distance following his luckless defeat at Cheltenham last week. Jessica Harrington's dual Grade One winner held a narrow advantage jumping the final flight in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, but sprawled badly on landing, losing all chance of victory.

The six-year-old ended up finishing fourth and Harrington is hoping her charge has more luck on his side on home soil, where he is likely to run over two miles.

"He's come out of the race absolutely fine and all going well he'll go to Punchestown," said Harrington. "It was obviously disappointing what happened, but that's racing. He's jumped the hurdle fine and just knuckled on landing.

"Robbie (Power) said he would have won -- he said he hadn't even gone for him. I think it's quite likely he'll drop back to two miles next time. He travelled so well in Cheltenham, almost too well really. It might be wrong, but I just want to see how he'd get on back over two miles. We'll just have to see."

Harrington did end up having a Festival winner a little over half an hour later as Bostons Angel struck gold in the RSA Chase. However, he has been signed off for the rest of the campaign.

"He won't be going to Punchestown. He'll be going home for his summer holidays," said the Moone, Co Kildare, trainer.

Farewell

Sublimity could take in a trip to Scotland before the curtain finally comes down on the 11-year-old's career. Trainer Robbie Hennessy is considering the Scottish Champion Hurdle, a limited handicap, as one of two possible farewell outings for his stable star.

"He might have one or two more runs. We're thinking about bringing him over for the Scottish Champion Hurdle," said the County Meath handler.

A smart performer on the Flat when originally trained in Newmarket by Michael Stoute, the son of Selkirk hit the heights over jumps when winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2007.

Meanwhile, Neil Mulholland has ruled out running Midnight Chase in this year's Aintree Grand National following his sterling effort in Friday's Cheltenham Gold Cup. The nine-year-old was no match for new king Long Run, or old warriors Kauto Star and Denman, but plugged on well to claim fifth.

Mulholland is thrilled with how his charge has taken those exertions and Aintree's totesport Bowl on April 7, rather than the National two days later, will be his next assignment.

Paul Nicholls, meanwhile, has confirmed that Daryl Jacob will keep the ride on What A Friend in the Aintree showpiece. The eight-year-old, part-owned by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, ran the race of his life under Jacob to be fourth in the Gold Cup.

Irish Independent

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