Another cracking contest in The Matheson Hurdle (2.25 Leopardstown), dominated, as usual, by Mullins and Elliott, with one from De Bromhead.
Regular readers will recall my admiration for Saint Roi, and though his price is skinny, I’m staying with him, based on what he might do rather than what he’s done. Over the summer I watched a few of the Cheltenham festival races again, and that’s when the reality of how easily Saint Roi won the County on his first run outside maiden company struck home. He travelled superbly through the whole race and quickened like a true Champion Hurdle candidate.
Last time out was like a negative image of that: he would not settle, still pulling hard two out, each jump having set him off again just when it seemed Walsh might be getting a grip of him. Walsh still felt he had enough horse there to slot in behind on the rail going to the last, and had he not panicked on the final approach and hauled the horse three wide very late, losing momentum and causing a jumping error, he would probably have won.
My main worry for today is that he doesn’t get the pace he will need to settle and we’ll watch him burn up his reserves before the finish. Although Petit Mouchoir often front runs, Elliott won’t want to help Saint Roi, and I wonder if Cooper will get orders to ‘do a Bryony’ on Petit Mouchoir?
Anyway, on Saint Roi’s Champion Hurdle prospects, those who took my advice for the 2021 running will soon know whether to put your voucher in a bank vault or in the bin.