Saint Cal­va­dos strikes af­ter Footpad falls

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING - ALAN MAGEE

HOT favourite Footpad de­parted at the fi­nal fence as Saint Cal­va­dos made all the run­ning in a dra­matic race for the Po­plar Square Chase at Naas. Bri­tish raider Saint Cal­va­dos hardly hit a twig in the hands of Gavin Shee­han, putting last sea­son’s Arkle Tro­phy hero un­der pressure from an early stage in the Grade Three con­test.

Shee­han lifted the tempo turn­ing for home and Harry Whit­ting­ton’s flam­boy­ant jumper held a three-length lead at the last, where Footpad slith­ered badly, giv­ing Ruby Walsh lit­tle chance of keeping the partnership in­tact, af­ter mak­ing a cou­ple of mis­takes ear­lier in pro­ceed­ings.

With the 4/9 favourite mar­ket leader gone, Saint Cal­va­dos (5/2) was left clear and coasted home by four and a half lengths, with Ty­coon Prince claim­ing sec­ond place. Saint Cal­va­dos was cut to 5/1 from 8/1 for the Bet­fair Tin­gle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 8 with the spon­sors.

Whit­ting­ton said: “He’ll go for the Tin­gle Creek next and I’m look­ing for­ward to him go­ing over the Rail­way fences there. He was just a bit rusty over the first cou­ple, but it was a good per­for­mance.

“I’m de­lighted for Andrew and Kate Brooks (own­ers) and for the horse. You can just draw a line through the Arkle now, and he’s prob­a­bly si­lenced the doubters. He’s come back and done it well. He’s a proper two-miler, and Gavin felt he was just hack­ing round. He’s only go­ing to get bet­ter with age, as he’s still a big, raw horse and only five. It’s very ex­cit­ing.”

Look­ing fur­ther ahead, Whit­ting­ton said: “He’s in the King Ge­orge. I was try­ing to con­vince Andrew not to en­ter him so we didn’t get tempted, but Andrew said you can blame it on the owner. But he’s a two-miler with that raw pace.

“Af­ter the Tin­gle Creek he may have a break and come out some­where in Fe­bru­ary as a prep for Chel­tenham, if all goes to plan, but it’s up to Andrew.

“He’s a much stronger horse now and his work has im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly at home. He’s more the fin­ished ar­ti­cle and he’ll get even stronger next year. It’s su­per, su­per ex­cit­ing!”

As­sess­ing Footpad, trainer Wil­lie Mullins said: “Footpad has an over­reach in front. He might have got it when he made the mis­take (at the third fence). He’s quite sore and to me that’s enough to stop a flu­ent jumper from jump­ing.

“He was very sore when he jogged in the sta­ble yard af­ter cool­ing down, and hope­fully it’s just an over­reach.”

There was more dis­ap­point­ment for Walsh and Mullins when Espoir D’Allen took ad­van­tage of the fall of Saldier at the fi­nal flight to land Grade Three hon­ours in the Fish­ery Lane Hurdle.

The Walsh-rid­den Saldier had gone on from long-time leader Mas­ter­mind at the sec­ond-last, but was be­ing pressed by Espoir D’Allen when he came down.

Espoir D’Allen (3/1) strode away on the run-in for trainer Gavin Cromwell, to score by 11 lengths from Mr Ad­ju­di­ca­tor.

Cromwell said: “You would love to do it on merit and I don’t know if he’d have won. It was all up in the air.”

Bry­ony Frost and Present Man clear the last to win the Badger Ales Tro­phy Hand­i­cap Chase at Win­can­ton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.