Ruby Walsh: Arvika is on his way to great things
10 December 2013
Sir Des Champs was fine on Monday morning and there is not a bother on him after his fall in the John Durkan – Davy Russell was a bit shaken up and he knew he had had the fall but he was okay.
Arvika Ligeonniere, the winner, seems to be more comfortable going right-handed, but he jumps very straight. We didn’t even know there was an issue with him until Leopardstown last year.
We haven’t had as much rain in Ireland as in England and although he goes in heavy for a big horse he has a really good action and drying ground doesn’t seem to bother him.
The race was around eight seconds quicker than the novice chase won by Bright New Dawn so it wasn’t a complete farce of a race.
Arvika is not in the King George, but is in the Paddy Power Dial-A–Bet Chase at Leopardstown on the 27th and I’d be all for him going back in trip.
He was fifth in an Albert Bartlett and he is a bit older now so perhaps he will get three miles, should Willie Mullins decide to step him up.
He’s going the right way to achieve big things.
Another going in the right direction is Dagora, who was second to Bright New Dawn. He was getting 12lb off Bright New Dawn, and I wasn’t keen to get into a battle with him. It was a really good performance for a horse completing his first run over fences and he’ll probably go for the Topaz Novice Chase at Leopardstown on the 29th.
He’s a nice horse who took a novicey fall at Gowran – he’s inclined to get high behind and not as high in front, which means he pitches on his head. That’s what happened at Gowran, and he did it at one or two on Sunday but he is learning all the time.
With the likes of Morning Assembly, Don Cassack, Bright New Dawn and Ballycasey I would say the Irish novices look quite strong at the moment.
Another who looks good is Felix Yonger, who beat Trifolium at Navan. Trifolium went a good pace and he jumped well so he had me going as fast as I was pretty much able. Felix Yonger pinged the last though and ended up winning by 15 lengths. He could go two and a half miles, but he has the speed for two so he’s a good horse. He is entered up everywhere and will probably remain so until declaration time.
He’s improved and he has been faultless since his comeback from a splint problem and he’s three from three now. He’s got the experience of travelling and dealing with the atmosphere at Cheltenham as he was second to Simonsig in the 2012 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.
Faugheen was a bit clumsy at the third last but he did jump better than he did at Punchestown when winning at Navan. He has a really big engine, and has pace and stamina. He is a big horse, with a big future. He hasn’t been extended yet and has earned himself a step up in grade now.
Vautour put up a good performance in a good race at Navan and had been working nicely at home. He is a big individual, who looks like a chaser already so if he fills in his frame he could be very exciting. He was very clever and had a good action, and jumping comes quite easily to him. He can scale the hurdle tree but he is really a chaser.
You would have to like the way Gitane Du Berlais did it and it looked like there was plenty left in the locker. Aintree can be a hard place to make all, but she did so and powered up the straight. Willie would not be that afraid to come back to England with her.
He got a great start but he was quite careful, so it was good he got around as he’s fallen twice in Nationals. I would like to have seen him attack his fences more. You look at the ground that a horse like Baby Run, or even Your Busy or Rebel Rebellion in the Grand Sefton, make up at their fences. A horse who attacks their fences can be worth anything to you at Aintree, and there would be a big question mark in my mind as to whether I would ride him there!
I see that Sprinter Sacre may be out soon at Kempton. I think everybody should be scared of Sprinter Sacre, and if he comes back to Kempton he is one hell of a horse. He is a great horse to watch and must be a hell of a horse to ride.
Sire De Grugy won the Tingle Creek well. Kauto Stone took them along at a great gallop and Captain Conan took the lead off him, but Sire De Grugy always looked like he was going to win.
We’ve got a few entered at Cheltenham on Saturday in the Relkeel Hurdle so I might be over again. Willie has a huge team of horses and keeping them apart so that they can all win means we have to come over to England a bit more.
(Ruby Walsh was talking to Racing UK)