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Focus to swerve any fast ground


Graham Wylie and Ruby Walsh

Graham Wylie and Ruby Walsh

Graham Wylie and Ruby Walsh

Graham Wylie insists Back In Focus will never be risked on fast ground following his sparkling chasing debut at Listowel.

The point-to-point graduate made a brilliant debut under Rules in a Grade Two novice hurdle at Haydock in February of last year, but suffered a leg injury at Aintree a couple of months later that sidelined him for over a year.

Second in a Tipperary hurdle race on his return and debut for Willie Mullins, he took to fences like a duck to water with an exemplary round of jumping in Thursday's Kevin McManus Beginners Chase.

The owner said: "He was very impressive, but I think he does need that soft ground. He won first time for us at Haydock and then we ummed and ahhed whether to take him to Cheltenham and Aintree or not.

"We missed Cheltenham because we didn't want to run him down that hill, but we took him to Aintree on fast ground and that was where he got his leg injury. We rued the day we did that so I think you'll find that in the future, unless it's soft ground, we'll not risk him.

"He's a lovely horse, he has a fantastic long stride and he just gallops and gallops. He had a few slightly sketchy jumps at the beginning, but once he got into his rhythm he was fantastic.

"I think where he goes from here will almost certainly be ground dependant, so let's just hope it rains between now and next March! I'm sure Willie will be looking for some better races for him now, but I don't know where he'll go next."