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Weekend racing round-up: Festival clues at Leopardstown and Sandown

| 08.02.2016

David Metcalf | February 8, 2016

Carlingford Lough cut for Gold Cup glory

Carlingford Lough landed a dramatic renewal of the Irish Gold Cup as he won the Leopardstown feature for the second year running, and is now 20/1 (from 66s) with Coral for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, March 18th.


The John Kiely-trained 10-year-old came with a storming late run from last place rounding the home turn and took advantage of the last-fence exit of Valseur Lido to land the spoils.

Jockey Ruby Walsh appeared to oozing confidence on Willie Mullins’ charge, but Valseur Lido hit the obstacle hard and Walsh got fired out of the side door.

Whether he would have won or not is debatable, but it left the way clear for Carlingford Lough to surge clear to beat Road To Riches by 12 lengths.

Winning rider Mark Walsh said: “He stuck his head down and sprinted, winged the last and just galloped home to the line. I was the one that was quickening when Ruby hadn’t gone for Valseur Lido, but I’m pretty confident I would have won anyway.

“It was a brilliant feeling. To be going round there thinking you had no chance and considering pulling up at one stage and then to win by 12 lengths – it was just brilliant. He’s a good horse to do that.”

Outlander blows away rival in Flogas Chase

Irish Gold Cup - Leopardstown Racecourse

Outlander enhanced his Cheltenham Festival credentials when running out the convincing winner of the Grade 1 Flogas Chase at Leopardstown.

The Willie Mullins trained gelding travelled well throughout behind pacesetting stablemate Pont Alexandre and pulled clear after the last to comfortably beat that rival by 2 3/4 lengths.

It was a most taking and professional performance, and Outlander is now unbeaten in three starts over the larger obstacles and looks a very exciting prospect.

Mullins said: “It was a good battle with Pont Alexandre and then Pont just seemed to fold, whereas Outlander just galloped and jumped and that’s what he does.

“I’m looking forward now to next month with him at Cheltenham. He’s coming on all the time. He stays and jumps which is what you want in a good horse. He could go either way (JLT or RSA), and whatever way the owners want to go I’ll be happy.”

Outlander is now 8/1 third favourite with Coral for the JLT on March 17th, and 10/1 for the RSA on March 16th.

Bleu delivers in Deloitte


Bleu Et Rouge booked his ticket to the Cheltenham Festival when getting the better of Tombstone in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.

The gelding was sent off 11/1 in a market dominated by stable companion Bellshill (4/6), but made a mockery of his odds.

After a bad blunder at the first, Bellshill tried to make all the running but weakened badly out of contention in the home straight.

That left Bleu Et Rouge and Tombstone to battle it out, and the former came out on top by three lengths under a power packed ride from Barry Geraghty.

Bleu Et Rouge is now 14/1 (from 33s) with Coral for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which gets proceedings underway at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, March 15th.

He also hold an entry in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle on Wednesday, March 16th, for which he is 12/1 with Coral.

Footpad springs into Triumph Hurdle picture


Footpad was a surprise winner as he led home a one-two-three for trainer Willie Mullins in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, and is now 10/1 (from 25s) with Coral for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday, March 18th.

With red-hot favourite Ivanovich Gorbatov never travelling well and weakening out of contention after a bad mistake at the fourth-last flight, the way was left clear for the Mullins brigade to battle out the finish.

Footpad, who was sent off at 14/1 and the outsider of the Mullins’ trio, came from off the pace under a confident Danny Mullins and after taking up the running approaching the last kept on strongly to score by 2 3/4 lengths.

The performance of Ivanovich Gorbatov left jockey Barry Geraghty baffled, and and although still favourite for the Triumph Hurdle he is now out to 6/1 with Coral having been 5/2 heading into the Spring Hurdle.

Geraghty said: “They went a very good gallop and he made mistakes because he was on the back foot.”He just struggled from three out, I’m not really sure why.

“It was a good race, a stronger race than he had run in the last time. He’ll need to be better than that.”

Bristol on course for JLT after running rivals Scilly


Bristol De Mai made every yard of the running to impressively land the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown, and is now 6/1 second favourite (from 12s) with Coral for the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday, March 17th.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained grey jumped superbly well in the hands of Daryl Jacob, and kept up a relentless gallop in the home straight to easily beat As De Mee by six lengths.

It was a performance which oozed class, and with the highly regarded Tea For Two finishing another length back in third the form has a rock solid look to it.

Bristol De Mai is owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, and the former said: “I think that was his seventh run and he seems to be getting better and better with every run. The JLT will now be his target.”


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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.