Calvados ready for Dublin raid

Whittington senses further improvement from top two-miler

  • Tuesday 29 January
  • News
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Saint Calvados is set to try for a second victory on Irish soil this season in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase at Leopardstown.

Harry Whittington’s stable star already held the advantage when Footpad crashed out at the last fence as he won the Grade Three Poplar Square Chase at Naas – and he could meet Willie Mullins’ horse again on Saturday.

Saint Calvados has since finished a well-beaten third behind Altior in the Tingle Creek at Sandown, but Whittington reports the six-year-old has come on for his races.

“We’ve decided to take our chances and run Saint Calvados,” said the Oxfordshire trainer.

“It’s obviously going to be a very tough test going over there, but we think the track and ground will really suit him.

“The ground should be similar to what it was like at Naas – and we saw how well he performed there – so we’re looking forward to running him again.

“He’s done really well since the Tingle Creek – and being just a six-year-old, there’s so much more to come from him.”

Saint Calvados has provided encouragement of late in his work at home.

Whittington added: “He’s a big, rangy horse with loads of scope to improve, and he’ll need to in this calibre of race – but his work since Sandown has been fantastic, so fingers crossed he puts in a big performance.

“Having watched the race back, I don’t think he wants bottomless ground – he struggled a bit on the hurdles course down the far side, and it was only when he got back on the better ground of the chase course that he picked up again.”

Mullins also has Min among nine possibles following the confirmation stage.

Ruby Walsh is not yet sure which of the Mullins duo he will be riding.

“They’re two top-class horses. Footpad was very good at Christmas until he got a bit tired in the last 100 yards. Min was brilliant when he won the John Durkan over two-and-a-half. They both seem to be in really good form,” Walsh told Racing TV.

“Special Tiara and Saint Calvados are in there. They add a fair pace angle to the race. It’ll be a very good renewal.”

Asked which horse he will ride, Walsh added: “I haven’t discussed it with Willie – and I won’t be discussing it until Thursday.”

A second British raider is the Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned, who defeated Footpad by half-a-length when winning the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase on this course last month.

“He’s in grand fettle, and we’ll have a go,” Richards told Sky Sports Racing.

“He’s been brilliant over there and he’s got top-class form over here, to be fair to him.”

Le Richebourg and Us And Them, who gave trainer Joseph O’Brien a one-two in the Racing Post Novice Chase here over Christmas, are among 12 possibles for the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase.

The Elliott stable have three – Cubomania, Hardline and Mengli Khan – while the Mullins team may just rely on Voix Du Reve.

Aidan Howard’s progressive Winter Escape and Gary Moore’s Knocknanuss, the sole British entry, are also in the mix.

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