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First Lieutenant, Ryanair or Gold Cup?

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Replies: 579
By:
roobuck
When: 18 Feb 13 14:00
Mouse says he prefers the GC - we all knew that didn't we?

Is that a way of protecting himself from 'the decision is for FL to run in the Ryanair' ie nothing to do with him?

Speculation and more speculation. As I say its good fun
By:
Tipping
When: 18 Feb 13 14:04
RACING: First Lieutenant might be something of a “forgotten horse” compared to Sir Des Champs when Ireland’s chances of landing this season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup are being discussed but he remains resolutely on target for steeplechasing’s blue-riband according to Mouse Morris.

The Co Tipperary trainer has adopted the same under-the-radar approach with First Lieutenant he famously used with War of Attrition before securing a memorable Gold Cup success in 2006.

War of Attrition ran at Leopardstown over Christmas, finishing runner-up in the equivalent of the Lexus Chase, and only returned to action with a flamboyant victory at the festival almost three months later.

That victory sealed Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s love affair with the most coveted National Hunt prize of all and his Gigginstown Stud operation holds a major Gold Cup hand with just over three weeks to go to the start of the Cheltenham Festival.

Sir Des Champs is a general 4/1 second favourite after an impressive Hennessy Gold Cup win last weekend but strictly on the form book has ground to make up on First Lieutenant on Lexus Chase running during Christmas.

Got closest

Both Gigginstown horses were behind the winner Tidal Bay but it was First Lieutenant that got closest of all to the winner with Sir Des Champs only fourth.

First Lieutenant hasn’t been seen in action since then and with O’Leary sponsoring the Ryanair Chase on day three of the festival, the same bookmakers who make First Lieutenant a 12/1 shot for Gold Cup glory are going just 5/1 about him being switched to the Ryanair instead.

The likelihood is that First Lieutenant will be kept in both races until as late as possible but Morris is in no doubt about which race he would like to go for. “My preference is for the Gold Cup but I have yet to talk to the owners,” he said yesterday. “It has yet to be discussed and I’m sure he will be left in both but my preference is the longer race.”

Although First Lieutenant hasn’t got his head in front in any race for 16 months, he is a proven former festival winner, in the 2011 Neptune Hurdle when beating the subsequent Champion Hurdle victor, Rock On Ruby, and ran a fine second to Bob’s Worth in the RSA last year. As well as the Lexus, he has been placed already this season in the Hennessy at Newbury and the JNwine Champion Chase at Down Royal.

The choice between the Gold Cup and the Ryanair was faced by Michael O’Leary in 2006 when the owner indicated almost up to festival week that his preference was to run in the race he sponsors. However, Morris ultimately got his way and recorded a famous success.

That Gold Cup put a seal on a fascination with the Cheltenham Festival that has enthralled the trainer for more years than he cares to remember.

Enjoyable as ever

It was in 1974 that the then amateur jockey rode Mr Midland to success in the four-mile National Hunt Chase. A couple of years later Morris rode Skymas to land the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a race he won as a trainer in 1986 with Buck House.

He describes the build-up to Cheltenham as being as enjoyable as ever but it is the Gold Cup that remains the jewel in the festival crown. Nevertheless Morris has another prime festival contender for Gigginstown in the Slaney Hurdle winner Rule The World. He holds entries in both the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett over three miles.

“The two mile-five race (Neptune) looks the one at the minute but he too will be kept in both. There are a lot of things to consider, including weather conditions closer to the time, but the shorter race looks the one at the minute,” he said.

The prolific winner Baily Green is a 33/1 shot for an Arkle Trophy dominated by Simonsig but could be given his shot by Morris whose Punchestown Festival winner China Rock also holds entries in both the Ryanair and the Gold Cup. Famous for getting his horses to peak at the right time for Cheltenham, nobody forgets Morris, or his horses, at the festival.
By:
Graeme83
When: 18 Feb 13 14:14
That pretty much tells us nothing.
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 18 Feb 13 14:33
Could someone tell me why this non-staying, non-3m+ chase winning, non Grade 1 Chase winner would have a better chance in a 3m 2.5f GoldCup than a 2m 5f Ryanair Chase please?

All answers welcome. Thanks.
By:
its a brent thing
When: 18 Feb 13 15:13
Spot on Ballydoyle. It's complete madness.
By:
Graeme83
When: 18 Feb 13 15:19
If you want the answer, then ask the Gold Cup winning trainer. It will be the owners final decisioon either way.
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 18 Feb 13 15:24
Nothing against the trainer. We had First Lieutenant in the Neptune at 11/1 and War Of Attrition at 12/1 in the Gold Cup. Like the trainer but this time he is simply blowing bubbles if he thinks First Lieutenant can win a Gold Cup this year. Next year...maybe....this year...NO CHANCE
By:
maelduin
When: 18 Feb 13 15:35
"Could someone tell me why this non-staying, non-3m+ chase winning, non Grade 1 Chase winner would have a better chance in a 3m 2.5f GoldCup than a 2m 5f Ryanair Chase please?"

WOA had the exact same profile before he won the GC. We are talking about the most prestigious of all NH races. If you have a horse that has any sort of chance then there should be no discussion at all. imo.
By:
GoldCupWinner
When: 18 Feb 13 15:49
WOA was not tiring in his races though whilst First Lieutenant is imo. WOA had also beat previous seasons GC winner over 2m 6f with a good staying performance.
By:
sintonian
When: 18 Feb 13 16:24
I suspect Mouse knows a bit more than us about this horse, and his rating has improved in his last couple of runs, over staying trips. Some evidence there if you want to see it.
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 18 Feb 13 16:38
Erm...where?
By:
sintonian
When: 18 Feb 13 17:09
Just had an eachway poke on Champion Court. That'll do me.

Either this race of the Champion Chase is going to cut up badly with the possible defections of Sizing,CC,FL. And in anycase, Champion Court's Cheltenham course form is none to shabby, should make the frame.
By:
Graeme83
When: 18 Feb 13 18:03
"Nothing against the trainer. We had First Lieutenant in the Neptune at 11/1 and War Of Attrition at 12/1 in the Gold Cup. Like the trainer but this time he is simply blowing bubbles if he thinks First Lieutenant can win a Gold Cup this year. Next year...maybe....this year...NO CHANCE "




Fair enough fella. It's a fair opinion, but certiainly not one i agree with as i think he will win the GC anyway, as long as we get fair running ground. If he doesn't go for the Ryanair, then i suggest some of you ask Matt Chapman questions on his twitter page, as it was he who said he was going for that race. By the way, i hope Russell stick with SDC.
By:
Slabster
When: 18 Feb 13 18:31
Russell will definitely stick with SDC if they both run in the same race. Said on radio the other day that First Lieutenant looks 'unable to get by Bobs Worth on any form'.
By:
its a brent thing
When: 18 Feb 13 18:32
Russell a CERTAINTY to partner Sir des Champs. Why would you jump off the winner??! ;)
By:
Graeme83
When: 18 Feb 13 18:39
He would say that Slabster, as he wants them split into two races. Well, on all known form, i don't recall a horse having one race before heading to a Gold Cup and winning it, especially one like Bobs Worth who isn't exactly the biggest. Don't get me wrong, i'm not a stat person, and i'm far from writing the horse off, but i think he is short enough as other horses have more room to improve and have had a better prep.
By:
booster
When: 18 Feb 13 18:48
Who has more room to improve than Bob's Worth? Off the top of my head he's only run in  5 or 6 chases.
By:
Graeme83
When: 18 Feb 13 19:12
He isn't the biggest horse though, and he has been put away since his last run. You see, i think improvement is something that is more gradual, as opposed to having three and a half months off, to then find a bigger performance that imo will be needed. He has obvious claims, but we will see.
By:
tyronesam
When: 18 Feb 13 19:22
gone in too on champion court....deffo runner ,better ground will ,good jumper ,races prominently.......SOLID ew
By:
booster
When: 18 Feb 13 19:29
For some horses, it's gradual and for others more instant I guess and, looking at Henderson's record at the meeting, he seems to get it right on most occasions. Let's face it, he could have run at any of the trials if it had been necessary. I remember Geraghty saying on his ATR blog that he'd schooled him once before the Hennessy and that would be fine, no more needed.
By:
Slabster
When: 18 Feb 13 20:20
Oh I know that Graeme, but he'd hardly say that and then jump from the good ship SDC if they both run in the Gold Cup.
By:
Graeme83
When: 18 Feb 13 20:47
booster - i suppose the horse isnt the biggest, and its why hes easier to prepare...but it could also be that he hasnt strengthened up as much as the others so has less condition to lose...3/1 is short enough. I like him, but the break isn't ideal.

Brent thing - if his jumping holds up he should feature...he has a bit to find, but they have left something to work with going by how some think he has looked physically. 


slabster - i knew his selection, but i think his reasoning is something he wants to effect the possibility of it going for the crammed seating aereplanes race.
By:
sintonian
When: 19 Feb 13 10:42
has price wize tipped in this race today?
By:
roobuck
When: 19 Feb 13 10:44
Yes, you got in at the right time sint Wink
By:
sintonian
When: 19 Feb 13 10:45
Yes I thought so, some mentioned it on Twitter last night, lucky I backed in the afternoon wannit Wink
By:
roobuck
When: 19 Feb 13 10:55
Yes...or the kiss of death LaughLaugh
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 19 Feb 13 13:34
I'm on Champion Court but he has left his race behind at Kempton. Why the stupid trainer felt the need to run him is beyond me....

I'll be ****g amazed if Gigginstown has nothing in its own race especially when they already have the Gold Cup winner in Sir Des Champs.
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 19 Feb 13 13:36
All of Seagulls ante-post efforts are laughable. Most aren't even gonna run. This one is plausible but as I said...has a hard race in King George then trainer **** him up in a mickey mouse round Kempton. Doesnt win often either and now hope doesnt run so I can get the dosh back off old Vic
By:
sintonian
When: 20 Feb 13 10:21
why would you be amazed the owner does not have a runner in his own race? He's just sponsors it for his business needs. The only race O'leary cares about is the Gold Cup. He has said that in his interviews.
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 20 Feb 13 10:51
Maybe one day I will get a logical reply as to how people think this horse can win the Gold Cup...
By:
ChildOfMine2
When: 20 Feb 13 10:56
Ballydoyle, FL's run behind Bobs Worth in the RSA, a recognized Gold Cup trial, gives him every chance of winning the GC. His run in the Lexus is just another example.
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 20 Feb 13 10:57
The jockey has admitted FL just cannot beat Bobs Worth...the jockey himself will in no way jump off SDC to ride FL....the jockey will want a ride in the Ryanair...the jockey made the final decision last year to split SDC and FL....the horse has never won over 3m....the horse has never won a Grade One Chase...he hasn't won this season...he failed to see out the trip in the RSA...he failed to see the trip out in the Hennessey....he was going backwards at the end of the Lexus....h e.....s i m p l y.....c a n n o t..... w i n.... t h e..... g o l d.... c u p
By:
booster
When: 20 Feb 13 10:58
Have to agree with Ballydoyle. You don't win a Gold Cup if you don't stay and he barely gets 3 miles in top company. He'd be swamped coming to 2 out but the shorter trip could see him gain a very well deserved success.
By:
Ming_the_Merciless
When: 20 Feb 13 10:58
Bally you have had plenty of replies but you have eyeshields, blinkers and cheek pieces on.Laugh

As you promote yourself to be a historian on the subject may I refer you to:
Best Mate (3 time winner)
&
Kicking King

also non-stayers - or so they said. Keep it up pal, there is no need to reply -  I know we have no chance of changing your mind.
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 20 Feb 13 11:01
Best Mate - I'll give you that but he was a great

Kicking King pissed up in the King George over erm...3m
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 20 Feb 13 11:03
I'm gonna have a cheeky wee Laugh to myself when all the FL fans look at the Gold Cup decs and go Shocked "where's First Lieutenant"....
By:
booster
When: 20 Feb 13 11:14
It's a shame really if they miss the chance because he looks a ready made Ryanair winner as he's a very strong stayer with top class form at the festival over the trip.
By:
Ballydoyle
When: 20 Feb 13 11:17
Exactly. Plus I'm on at 10-1 so I'm biased.
By:
Can't Catch Me
When: 20 Feb 13 11:19
I have been toying with backing him for the Ryanair for weeks, but keep stopping myself until a firm decision is made. But surely they'd be absolutely bonkers not to run him in this race? Looks an absolute no brainer to me, and he'd be one of my biggest fancies for the week in this race, whilst I would give him absolutely no chance in a GC.
By:
booster
When: 20 Feb 13 11:43
And I'm also on at that price NRFB.
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