Walsh has high hopes for Foxrock in star-studded hunter chase
Following Grade 2 novice hurdle success for the stable on Saturday with Any Second Now, Ted Walsh is hoping the momentum continues on to Thurles on Thursday where he expects Foxrock to shine in a hunters chase that almost resembles a Cheltenham Gold Cup.
One time Cheltenham regulars On His Own and Sir Des Champs have also been given entries by their respective trainers, but Walsh believes Foxrock will win if he can improve from his St Stephen’s Day victory at Down Royal.
He said: “He won well up north on St Stephen’s Day and I am expecting him to improve from that.
“He is a good horse on his day and he improved plenty from his first start between the flags to win that Down Royal race nicely. If he were to produce similar improvement again, I think he would be very hard to beat.”
The Barry Connell-owned gelding is yet another big name runner to enter the hunter chase sphere, however there will be no Cheltenham dream for the nine-year-old in this code, as he does not qualify for the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham, having placed in a Grade 2 Chase at Navan last April, as well as placing in the Irish Gold Cup behind Carlingford Lough in 2015.
Irish point-to-point expert Richard Pugh said yesterday big-name runners such as Foxrock, On His Own and First Lieutenant are serving as an added attraction to point-to-point fans in Ireland.
He said: “There’s no question that having these classy horses running in point-to-point races in Ireland is a huge positive for the sport.
“Britain have done very well with their veteran chases and I feel the current open lightweight system provides these formerly classy chasers with an opportunity to race on.
“However, we have seen talented horses such as Snowy Morning, Joncol and Ballytrim making the move to point-to-points after hugely successful careers on the track and they didn’t dominate which would highlight the gap between the two disciplines is not so vast.”