Sailors Warn (read silks, white cap) jumps alongside Thousand StarsPICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
Sailors Warn has too many guns for Stars
Report: Leopardstown, Sunday
Ballsbridge Hurdle 2m2f, 5yo+
SAILORS WARN inflicted another defeat on three-time Grade 1 winner Thousand Stars at Leopardstown on Sunday.
Although in receipt of 10lb from Thousand Stars, Sailors Warn is rated 26lb inferior to his rival and on paper it was hard to see anything other than a Thousand Stars victory.
However, the Edward O'Grady-trained winner travelled supremely well for Barry Geraghty and sprinted past the 10-11 market leader from the back of the last to score a comfortable win at 5-1.
The result means Thousand Stars is now without a win since the second of his French Champion Hurdle victories back in June 2012.
The winner impressed bookmakers, with BetVictor slashing his odds to 16-1 (from 33) for the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle and Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, his two Cheltenham Festival entries.
Sailors Warn already boasts excellent form at the festival, finishing a close third to Alderwood in the 2012 County Hurdle and a respectable sixth to Zarkandar in the previous year's Triumph Hurdle, although he is only a possible at best to return to Cheltenham according to O'Grady.
The trainer said: “If a thousand stars turned up we had no chance, if 700 stars turned up we had a sporting chance, so maybe 700 stars did turn up!
"The reason he came here is that he was 3lb worse off in Britain than here before we started and now he’ll probably get another 6lb. This was his Cheltenham. I’ll talk to Mr Wilmott [owner Patrick Wilmott] but I’ll be happy enough to stay at home.
"This horse got injured about 18 months ago. He stepped on a piece of steel that went up through his hoof, we couldn’t get him sound and we took him for a CAT scan, which is unusual to do with a horse, they actually gave him a 10 per cent chance of ever coming back sound.
"It’s marvellous that he’s come back to something like this. It’s great credit to my farrier and staff."