Champion Hurdle remains on Sharjah radar

‘Back to the drawing board’ following Leopardstown effort.

  • Sunday 02 February
  • News
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Sharjah is still set to line up for the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next month despite a below-par performance at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Trainer Willie Mullins felt two bad mistakes in succession put paid to his chances in the PCI Irish Champion Hurdle, and he weakened to finish sixth behind Honeysuckle.

“At the first hurdle down the back he stood way back at it and then he missed the next and did the same thing at the one after that,” said the Closutton handler.

“I thought those two jumps just took whatever chance he had. He put too much effort into jumping those hurdles, normally he doesn’t do that and it’s out of character.

“It wouldn’t look like his run on the form of the race. We’ll go home and see, it’s back to the drawing board with him.

“I’d imagine we’ll probably prepare him now for the Champion Hurdle and take our chance.”

Mullins is keen to let Cash Back take his chance in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy after his fine effort in the Irish version.

Cash Back pushed hot favourite Notebook all the way after making the running and only went down by three-quarters of a length.

“That was a huge step up in class for Cash Back and I was very pleased with him,” said Mullins.

“I’d imagine he’ll go for the the Arkle at Cheltenham. The winner was very good, did it very well, and he’s going to be hard to beat.

“That was our fella’s third run and there is the chance that we can improve more.”

Mullins reported all his runners from day one of the Dublin Racing Festival to be none the worse for their exertions, and signalled out Dublin Chase victor Chacun Pour Soi and bumper winner Appreciate It for special praise.

“They are all good and I don’t have any bad stories this morning. Hopefully it will be the same tomorrow morning,” he said on Sunday afternoon.

“There are a couple nicks and cuts, but that’s normal in racing.

“I thought, apart from the disappointments, Chacun Pour Soi is a star and we may have found another one in Appreciate It in the bumper, because I think that was a huge field of horses yesterday. He must be a really good horse.”

Champion Hurdle remains on Sharjah radar
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