Fakir Looks The Real Deal In Drinmore

The exciting Samcro warming up ahead of morning exercise

Peter Kingston looks forward to the BarOneRacing.com Drinmore Novice Chase

9 horses have been declared at the 5 day stage for the Grade 1, BarOneRacing.com Drinmore Novice Chase. 1.30pm on Sunday, a select but quality field will run 2 and a half miles, jump 16 fences for a prize fund of €90,000. Gordon Elliott, who’s had the winner five of the last ten years has four entries for Gigginstown Stud, who’ve won the race themselves six of the last ten years.

 

Our betting on the Drinmore Novice Chase can be found here

There has been some class winners of the race including subsequent Gold Cup winner, Don Cossack. Last year Delta Work triumphed in a classic over Le Richebourg. Let’s hope for some of the same, here’s a look at some of the main protagonists;

Samcro

We simply have the start with Samcro. The peoples horse. Matt Chapman and other racing pundits have hyped this horse to the last. When you watch back all his video’s, you are reminded why. His novice hurdling season was awesome. Last year he’s said to have never scoped clean by connections. I’m presuming that’s afterwards as he was sent off a short price favourite versus Buveur D’air and in fact in all of his starts so far, such is the regard he is held.

A 163 rated hurdler, he had a season to forget last year, beaten in Down Royal, Newcastle and Leopardstown and missed the rest of the season with a lung infection. Samcro has a new airy stable, nothing is being left to chance. He had a wind op over the summer and wore a tongue tie on his chasing debut under rules at Down Royal with Keith O’Donoghue in the plate. It was an ordinary time and he hadn’t much to beat but he couldn’t have done it any better, sprinting after the last to the line, winning by a distance. One minor criticism was him leaning out to his right at the last few fences.

Samcro has proper opposition here, arguably a few more impressive over the larger obstacles so far, I doubt the betting public won’t send him off fav once again. It would be nice for him to live up to the hype.

Fakir D’oudairies

Still a four year old. Gets 8 pounds weight for age here despite being as experienced as many in the field. The ex Guy Cherel trained gelding has had 11 career starts, 5 runs in France as a 3 year old and three over fences. Joseph O’Brien’s 149 rated hurdler started his chasing campaign in Ireland in brilliant fashion, downing Melon at Navan 3 weeks ago. He jumped really well at Navan and it was encouraging to his trainer say afterwards he would even come on for it.

It’s hard to tell a few days out but Fakir D’oudairies might be allowed an uncontested lead here judging by the run styles in the field. He was nice and aggressive down the back at Navan and similar tactics here may get his rivals under pressure. The 4 year old could well make the most of his age allowance for his owner JP McManus and it seems the softer the better. A step up to 2 and a half miles looks like it will only suit after being outpaced in a Supreme and staying on at the finish, and hitting the line really well in Navan last time out.

Ronald Pump

I was at Fairyhouse when Ronald Pump won his beginners chase. He was on edge and revved up beforehand and I didn’t think it was ideal before a 2 mile 5 furlongs chase debut in the mud. Ronald Pump trounced his rivals making that  5 wins out of his last 6 and me feeling foolish. Wearing a hood and tongue tie, a €1,000 purchase with little breeding to speak of and hailing from a small yard, it’s easy to see why Ronald Pump may be underrated coming in to the Drinmore.

His defeat of 13 rivals including Bapaume over the inside course at Fairyhouse and distance was very impressive. Heavy going seemed to be no bother to him. Matthew Smith has been a revelation the past few seasons and in Ronald Pump he has a progressive horse, 145 rated hurdler who has a liking for the track and likely soft conditions. A big player.

Burrows Saint

156 rated chaser of Willie Mullins and the Ricci’s who won the Irish National off 144 and a mile further last April. It will be a 156 days since the 6 year old gelding ran. That can be no barrier to Willie Mullins as we’ve seen in the past but it remains to be seen how forward Burrows Saint is. It’s an opportunity however to operate one last time in the novice ranks for the Gold Cup entered horse.

The Grand Steeple Chase de Paris was one run too many on bottomless ground last season but Burrows Saint was electric in the Irish National.  A well backed 6/1 favourite in a 30 runner field he tanked his way through the race. He certainly doesn’t seem a slogger, and while this trip may be on the sharp side, he may get away with it. Before the National, Burrows Saint won a 2 mile 4 furlong chase in Gowran on soft and then a 3 mile Grade 3 at Limerick. With 7 chase runs under his belt, the market will be interesting to see how confident the Closutton camp are, a straight Burrows Saint would have to be respected.

Champagne Classic

Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown’s likely 2nd string. A Cheltenham festival winner in 2017 who after went on to beat Penhill in the 3 mile Grade 1 novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. A 145+ rated hurdler, Champagne Classic missed 641 days and 2018 unfortunately to injury. The 8 year old gelding has had 4 chase runs now and a point to point. Travelling really well on debut under rules behind Ballyward at Naas in January until 2 fences out before weakening late, 2nd to Chris’s Dream at Navan in February which looks better now and two wins recently. They came at Fairyhouse on the inside course in a race that fell apart a bit and at Wexford a month ago where he beat Discorama over 2 miles and 7 furlongs on soft to heavy. Discorama could only finish 8th in the Troytown off 149.

Champagne Classic carries his head high and has been dismissed for his absence and owners derogatory comments in the past but could be an altogether different proposition this winter with a full summer and uninterrupted training campaign behind him. Champagne Classic ought to travel well, it’ll be interesting to see how he fares when the taps are turned on for home.

The Others

Tintangle is entered in a Mares Chase at Carlise on Sunday as well. A 135 rated hurdler, she jumps well but hung left in Clonmel and can idle in front. The 6 year old mare likes to be up there and will contribute to the pace if she runs.

Battleoverdoyen is a beast. He won his beginners chase in Galway in super style and followed up with a really good win of the Grade 2 Florida Pearl at Punchestown. He wants 3 miles and Gordon Elliott has suggested they’ll wait to Leopardstown at Christmas for him and the owners have Samcro. He may turn out the best of these over fences in my opinion, don’t be Cheltenham focused with him though as he travelled over poor last year and ran the same.

Chef des Obeaux is a new recruit to Willie Mullins from Nicky Henderson. A 149 rated hurdler, he was sent off single figures in last years 4 miler at Cheltenham, but was badly hampered going out on the final circuit and pulled up. My worry is he looks like he wants 5 miles. If it turned up really heavy and there was confidence in the market you couldn’t rule him out, it is Willie Mullins after all.

Ex Patriot strikes me as the type who will run well without winning. 146 over fences, same as hurdles, this intermediary trip is probably ideal and the 6 year old gelding relishes the soft. 4th in a Triumph Hurdle after getting loose beforehand and enduring a wide trip in the race, Ellemarie Holden’s charge certainly has class. 2nd to Brahma Bull in Cork and 3rd to Battleoverdoyen in Punchestown, you’d imagine he may find one or two too good.

Conclusion

A potentially brilliant Novice Chase and one I have no standout view on at the declarations stage. Fakir D’Oudairies 9/4 would be the most likeliest winner in my opinion and if the public support comes for Samcro, it may make him a price. Willie Mullins updates on Burrows Saint and Chef des Obeaux will be interesting nearer the race as well as the final running plans of the mob handed Gordon Elliott stable.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article