Gus­tavas Vassa can rule Na­van

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING -

HIGH­CLERE Thor­ough­bred Rac­ing and Wil­lie Mullins team up with Gus­tavas Vassa in to­day’s Ir­ish Ce­sare­witch at Na­van. The three-year-old joins Mullins from An­drew Oliver, but not as a po­ten­tial jumper and more with ma­jor Flat races in mind.

Gus­tavas Vassa has had just three races to date and the book­mak­ers are tak­ing no chances in mak­ing him favourite for the fea­ture hand­i­cap.

“He’s an ex­cit­ing horse that we bought think­ing he could po­ten­tially be a qual­ity stay­ing horse on the Flat, maybe even a Mel­bourne Cup horse for next year,” said Harry Herbert, rac­ing man­ager for High­clere. “We’ll ob­vi­ously see how he goes, but we cer­tainly bought him as a Flat horse rather than a jumper. Wil­lie is very happy with his work and this looked a good op­por­tu­nity to get him started.”

St Stephens Green will be aim­ing to give Em­met Mullins, a nephew of Wil­lie, his big­gest win since turn­ing his hand to train­ing at the age of 25. A smart dual-pur­pose per­former, he will be head­ing back over hur­dles at some point.

“I felt he ran bet­ter than his fin­ish­ing po­si­tion sug­gested on Cham­pi­ons Week­end (10th), he was only beaten two lengths, and he prob­a­bly found that trip a bit too sharp as well,” said Mullins.

“I’m hop­ing for an­other bold show and hope­fully we’ll get an­other good run out of him. Af­ter this, we’re think­ing of one more run be­fore giv­ing him a break when you get your real win­ter ground. Whether that is over hur­dles, in some­thing like the Great­wood, we’ll wait and see. We’ ll then bring him back for a spring cam­paign.”

The only non-Ir­ish run­ner is Brian El­li­son’s Ni­et­zsche, an­other which will be head­ing back over hur­dles af­ter this. He fin­ished third in the Fred Win­ter at Chel­tenham and had a spin on the Flat re­cently. “He’s in good nick and should run well,” said El­li­son. “We gave him a nice break af­ter Chel­tenham and then he had a run at Don­caster last month.”

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