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Ruby Walsh exclusive: Vautour and Ballycasey were impressive but let’s leave the Aintree Grand National for now

Ruby gives us the lowdown of Valour and Ballycasey's Cheltenham chance. Just don't ask him about the Aintree Grand National just yet

by Ruby Walsh | February 11, 2014

My phone was on silent. I’ve got about 10 missed calls. I haven’t looked at the Grand National weights. I won’t be looking. It’s got absolutely no f**king relevance now. Let’s get Cheltenham out of the way first. Number 75 could still get in. Jesus Christ.

Thanks for that Ruby. He was actually in good form. But here’s what he said about the weekend results and Cheltenham 2014.

Vautour was impressive. Had to make his own running which is always difficult. He travelled strongly and jumped slickly and the plan now is to go for the Festival opener – the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

He’ll be dropping back in trip from 2m2f to 2m but I don’t see that being a problem and he should run a really big race there.


Ballycasey was very good too on only his second run over fences. We were hoping he’d be fit enough and he was. He was assured in what he was doing and quickened up nicely going to the last.

To beat those two Grade One winners Don Cossack and Carlingford Lough (fell last) was a good performance and I’d imagine he’ll run in the RSA Chase now or the four mile Chase.

Ivan Grozny still has me scratching my head.  He may have been a bit keen but he jumped and travelled well. He was struggling turning in to the home straight at Leopardstown and was beaten a bit too far out for it to be the ground for my money. I hope something else comes to light to explain it.

The winner Guitar Pete is a tough horse and the type you need to win a Triumph Hurdle. Tiger Roll did well on just his second start over hurdles.

Last Instalment

Last Instalment has cemented himself as Ireland’s only chance of winning the Gold Cup after his impressive win in the Hennessy Gold Cup. He jumped super, travelled really well and stayed superbly under a great ride from Brian O’Connell.

If you’re backing him ante-post you might be worried about his “legs of glass” that Philip Fenton mentioned. But the aim will be to get him there on the day first and worry about the conditions later.

Newbury, Saturday

Smad Place and Sam Winner got down to it at Newbury and both looked strong staying types. Sam Winner has plenty of experience and has won around Cheltenham while Alan King’s Smad Place has finished third twice in the World Hurdle. The heavy ground didn’t bother them but it should be very different ground in a month’s time.

Paul Nicholls confirmed today that Al Ferof will go for the Ryanair Chase and that looks about right. Harry Topper – who jumped a lot better than he normally does –  beat him a long way.

Un de Sceaux840

Un de Sceaux puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park on Saturday. He takes another step along the road to Cheltenham.

He looks well and has been working well so its fingers crossed it all works out well for him at Gowran Park. Champagne Fever might run at Navan in the Grade 2 Flyingbolt Novice Steeplechase.

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