Thursday, March 10, 2011

Salley misses Cheltenham after scoping badly

The Prunella Dobbs yard's hopes of a Cheltenham Festival 2011 success for their in-form mare Our Girl Salley have been dashed following the news that the six-year-old has scoped badly and will not be right in time to take her chance against Quevega in the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle on Tuesday, writes Elliot Slater.

Our Girl Salley has been a revelation this season and was one of the few potentially serious rivals to Quevega, Willie Mullins' red-hot favourite for the 'David Nicholson', a race she will attempt to win for the third successive year. An 8/1 chance with some firms and expected by connections to run a big race next week, there was no hiding the disappointing that Dobbs felt on realising that her stable star would miss her chance to shine on the biggest stage of all. Punters who had planned on backing the horse may want to look at the Cheltenham Gold Cup instead.

A winner of three bumpers last season before taking her chance over timber, Our Girl Salley has proved a very adept hurdler, winning in style on her debut at Navan in November, beating Sugar Bullet by 10-lengths. Stepping up to Listed company at Leopardstown's prestigious Christmas fixture in late-December, Dobbs' mare showed she has what it takes to go a long way in the hurdles sphere in easily disposing of some good opponents to land the ITBA Mares Hurdle.

At Fairyhouse a couple of weeks later she batted on bravely to land another Listed event under regular jockey Barry Geraghty and has since been given a break to freshen up and ready herself for taking on Quevega at Cheltenham. Sadly, that won't be happening now, but Dobbs has settled for looking to take on some of the big guns at Punchestown and Fairyhouse this spring and hopefully get a chance next year to show what Our Girl Salley can do at Cheltenham.

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