Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Racing

Lieutenant earns the salutes

First Lieutenant pulled victory from out of the fire with a narrow verdict over Rock On Ruby in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Oscars Well jumped the last in front but he landed awkwardly and Robbie Power did well to stay in the saddle - even though the error put paid to his chances.

Rock On Ruby set off up the hill in front, but Davy Russell conjured a late run out of First Lieutenant (7-1) and Mouse Morris's charge got up in the final strides to win by a short head.

So Young, the well-backed 2-1 favourite, was another four and a half lengths away third.

Russell said: "He's a horse that's matured an awful lot through the year and he has again. I knew with a quarter of the straight to go I was getting there, but it was the last stride.

"My horse was a fraction slow at the last, but he's a very good horse."

Morris added: "They didn't seem to go a great gallop and speed wouldn't totally be his forte, but he stayed up there. He does have a lot of toe, but it's more a high cruising speed than just producing it. It was a perfect ride from Davy.

"This was plan A, B, C and D, so regarding the future, we'll see what happens. Chasing is going to be his game. I don't know if he'll run again this season. From day one I always thought he was a Cheltenham horse. He has a presence about him."

Winning owner Michael O'Leary, boss of Ryanair, said: "Mouse has done a wonderful job with the horse and Davy gave him a fantastic ride. Oscars Well was probably a bit unlucky, but it's a great day for us.

"It's a great joy when the Irish horses come over here and this is another one on the board. Mouse always thought this horse was the next War Of Attrition. I don't think he's that good but he's going the right way anyway."


From Belfast Telegraph