Ryanair the target for Foxrock
Foxrock will be supplemented for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after owner Barry Connell ruled out a tilt at the Gold Cup.
The Ted Walsh-trained seven-year-old ran a tremendous race to fill the runner-up spot in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month, prompting connections to think long and hard about adding him to the field for the blue riband on Friday week.
However, in a surprise decision, he will instead be added to Thursday's two-mile-five-furlong Grade One on Friday at a cost of £15,000.
Connell feels it is the right call with the future in mind.
He said: "I've just been chatting to Ted about it and we've decided to supplement for the Ryanair.
"It's not a race we've really been considering, but it makes sense for a couple of reasons. He's still quite a young horse at the age of seven and going three and a quarter miles in a Gold Cup can leave a mark on a young horse like him.
"He's proven over the Ryanair trip, he's not a slow horse and it might be a good stepping stone for the Gold Cup in a year's time. It will be a less gruelling race than the Gold Cup and it will give him a bit more experience of the track, which will hopefully stand to him if we're lucky enough to be back there next year.
"Just looking for the ratings for the Ryanair I think Don Cossack might be the best of the Irish on 166, so we only have a couple of pounds to find with him."
Foxrock has only once finished out of the first three over fences and that when disappointing as favourite for last year's National Hunt Chase at the Festival, but Connell is not concerned about a return to Prestbury Park.
"I think he's a stronger horse, both physically and mentally, than he was last year and I'm looking forward to running him," said the owner.
"He's well entitled to take his chance."