O’Faolains expected to improve over fences
AFTER finishing fourth behind stablemate At Fishers Cross at the Cheltenham Festival, O’Faolains Boy gets a crack at chasing at Newbury on Wednesday (2.15), with trainer Rebecca Curtis hoping he will develop into an RSA Chase contender.
The six-year-old’s only defeat in three runs over hurdles came in the Albert Bartlett but Curtis believes he will prove an even smarter proposition over fences and has secured Tony McCoy to partner him today.
O’Faolains Boy is reported to have schooled superbly over fences and Curtis pitches him in against four classy rivals, including two, Hadrian’s Approach and Super Duty, who were last seen out in the Hennessy Gold Cup last month.
“We’re throwing him in at the deep end slightly but there aren’t many two-and-a-half or three-mile chases around,” said Curtis. “ He was ready a bit later than we hoped and we just want to get him out there.
“He was good over hurdles and we’re expecting him to improve over fences. We would like to think he could turn into an RSA horse.
“He has jumped perfectly at home, although you never know until you run them. He will improve for the run and hopefully he will jump well. I was a bit reluctant to run him over three miles first time out, but it’s not going to be bottomless there.”
Emma Lavelle has RSA Chase hopes for Gullinbursti, who got off the mark over fences in style at Market Rasen last month and goes back over them after a creditable fifth in Haydock’s Grade 3 Fixed Brush Hurdle.
Lavelle said: “The Fixed Brush was a valuable prize worth having a go at, but his future was always as a chaser. This will give us an idea whether we go down the handicapping or novice route.
“I’m not sure what his ideal conditions are but I think it will be an interesting race between fairly closely rated horses.”
After opting to ride stablemate Triolo D’Alene to win the Hennessy, Barry Geraghty switches back to last year’s RSA third Hadrian’s Approach, who unseated Nico de Boinville at Newbury.
The Donald McCain-trained Super Duty, second in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival, also failed to complete in the Hennessy. He shares top weight with Poungach, who was fourth behind Standing Ovation in the Badger Ales Trophy last month on his first run of the season for Paul Nicholls.
The last five winners of the 12.10 at Newbury had run on the Flat before going hurdling, four of which were having their first try over obstacles. A few fit that statistic going into the race, but Certification makes most appeal of that type.
The record of the favourite in the 2.15 at Newbury, a Class 2 Graduation Chase, reads 11211, so look to the market leader to run a big race.
Pointers provided by Raceform Interactive
Ludlow Good to soft, good in places
Newbury Chase good to soft, Hurdle soft, good to soft in places