Regular readers will know I’ve thought La Bague Au Roi would be the best chasing mare since Dawn Run since I saw her win her first race over fences. She runs in the 3.00 tomorrow (Sunday) at Leopardstown. My sole concern is that she travelled to Ireland last year and ran comparatively poorly at Punchestown, although she was in a general form dip at the time. Still, it can’t be discounted; travel does upset some horses.
From this she will hopefully go to Cheltenham to run in the JLT Chase. Her trainer Warren Greatrex has been downbeat about her running at the festival as she did not reproduce her form there. But fences have transformed her. From what I’ve read, the owners of La Bague Au Roi are very keen to run at Cheltenham. Greatrex has said that a festival victory is like a drug. He won the Stayers with Cole Harden in 2015 and the Kim Muir last year with Missed Approach, his only festival winners from 47 runners since his first runners there in 2010 (3 more were placed).
La Bague Au Roi is the best he’s had, and for all his sober protestations that she might not like Cheltenham because she disappointed there twice over hurdles he knows, as many now do, that she is a different mare over fences. To accept that he will miss the Olympics of horseracing with a mare who will get that (probably not needed) half stone allowance from geldings when she is in the form of her life seems to me so unlikely as to be ridiculous.
He said last week he will enter her in the JLT and the RSA with the JLT being most likely (jockey Richard Johnson has also said he believes that the JLT would be best for her). She is 10/1 for that race and 6/1 to win any race at the festival. If you choose to bet her for March before she runs tomorrow, it’s up to you which option you go for.