Sir Des Champs got no further than the third fence on Sunday which – much like West Ham – leaves us none the wiser as to any seasonal progress.
Trainer Willie Mullins’ first reaction to last season’s Gold Cup second was that he may be able to tease more out of him – particularly on better ground. For a man of Mullins’ modesty, that was the equivalent of the Carlow handler ripping his shirt off, pointing at the camera lens and shouting ‘Sleep with one eye open, Bobs Worth, cos Ima coming to get you!’ in an amusing but highly unlikely Macho Man Randy Savage style.
We shouldn’t expect too many surprises from Macho Man Willie Mullins now either. Sir Des Champs is likely to step up to three miles at Leopardstown for both the Lexus Chase (Dec 28) and then probably the Hennessy Gold Cup (February 2014) before going for Gold at Cheltenham. Whether or not he can wrest the title away from Cheltenham specialist and champ and Bobs Worth is another matter entirely.
Stat: 18 of the last 20 GC winners were aged between seven and nine