Tony Elves looks back at some of the key performances of the last week.
There is a saying in life that when one door closes another one opens and Henry de Bromhead has bounced back from the loss of the Potts’ family horses better than one of those inflatable punchbags that were doing the rounds in way back when.
A recipient of some of the Gigginstown House team that exited Willie Mullins early this year, De Bromhead produced Valseur Lido in grand shape to record a third career Group 1 win in the JNwine.com Champion Chase over three miles at Down Royal on Saturday in a manner that suggests that there could well be in for further big days in the top bracket races.
The 2-1 favourite was held up by Ruby Walsh early on but there was an ominous sign on the wall for his rivals as he travelled with ease throughout and it looked a matter of how far as he was brought fully into the mix on the run to the second last.
The rest was plain sailing as he skipped 11 lengths ahead of Silviniaco Conti and, although that rivals was returning from a dismal effort in the Grand National and almost certainly needed the outing, it has to be remember that the runner-up has won two King George VI Chases in his illustrious career.
We have already singled out De Bromhead’s prowess with chasers courtesy of the exciting novice Identity Thief and there is no reason why Valseur Lido should not make inroads in the Gold Cup division which unfortunately lost one of its serious protagonists when Vautour was fatally injured in a freak accident at home.
Furthermore, it was Valseur Lido who was chased home Vautour to six lengths in the Ryanair Chase over two miles and five furlongs at the Cheltenham Festival in March, where the classy Road To Riches and Al Ferof were behind.
It could well be that Valseur Lido is reaching the zenith of his powers as he approaches his eighth birthday and he showed in his younger days that staying wasn’t a problem when win the Grade 1 Champion Novices’ Chase over three miles and a furlong at Punchestown in April 2015 where recent Charlie Hall Chase winner Irish Cavalier was back in fourth.
There will obviously be further tests ahead the possibility of a King George VI Chase which will throw further light on Valseur Lido’s credentials as a serious Cheltenham Gold Cup contender but with his proven record there will be worse 14-1 shots to back for the Festival. It looks worth dipping the toes in the water at his current price and a 1pt investment is suggested.
Sub Lieutenant made it a memorable afternoon for De Bromhead when taking the Grade 2 Titanic Belfast Chase over two miles and three and a half furlongs and received a 14-1 quote for the Ryanair Chase but that event looks thick with talent and I wouldn’t want to be rushing in with the likes of Black Hercules, Douvan, Road To Riches and Vroum Vroum Mag all featuring in the betting for that event at present.
At Wincanton, Sceau Royal took his next step up the hurdling ladder with a fluent victory in the Grade 2 Stan James Elite Hurdle. The Alan King-trained four-year-old is a slick hurdler that has clearly improved from three to four and had no trouble disposing of Rayvin Black. Again, more will be learnt after either the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle or the Christmans Hurdle at Kempton but he is another who is in a division where strength comes in depth and the best price for the Champion of 20-1 makes no appeal in this corner at present.