Bryan Cooper: I would hope that he would take a fair bit of beating here
Lion In His Heart
I rode him when he won his maiden hurdle at Tipperary in early October and he was in the process of running a good race when falling 2 out in the Grade 3 won by Death Duty over 2m4f at Navan last time. He was a bit keen there so I think the step back down to 2m will suit him and I think he should go well providing the fall hasn’t knocked his confidence. This does look a competitive race, though, as you’d expect.
He won his point last year and he was very impressive when winning his bumper by 10 lengths over 2m4f at Fairyhouse last time. He is improving and maturing as he gains experience and I would hope that he would take a fair bit of beating here, though you never know what you can bump into in these maiden hurdles and the good Flat horse Toe The Line has to be greatly respected.
It was a pretty close and difficult decision to choose between my mount and Outlander. Outlander looked like he was going to beat Alelchi Inois in the Clonmel Oil last time before falling at the last, and pretty much came out as the same horse at the weights with Sub Lieutenant in the Belfast Chase last month. But the ease of Sub Lieutenant’s win that day just swayed me towards him. This is quite clearly a big step up in class for him but he is progressing well and deserves his shot. Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam is obviously the one to beat and he was very impressive when beating Valseur Lido by 12 lengths first time out in this race last year. In fact, I think 2m4f may well be his best trip given the way that he travels into his races. If fit, he will obviously be hard to beat, but this race will obviously tell us a lot more what route we should go down with our two horses. JLT winner Black Hercules has to step up on his novice form to be competitive in this company, but this is only his fifth start over fences, so the potential is clearly there.
He was a bit of a talking horse last year but he didn’t have the ideal run into Cheltenham and disappointed in the Albert Bartlett. I thought I would be competitive there for most of the race but he fell in a hole going to 2 out, and he was below par at Aintree and Punchestown afterwards. He was very good earlier in the season though and if Henry can get him back in top form then he could have a fair season over fences. I schooled him on Thursday, and was happy. Once again though, these Beginners’ Chases takes some winning.
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