Friday, February 10, 2012

Bog Cheltenham target rests on Naas performance

The exciting Bog Warrior looks set to return to racecourse duty at Naas on February 11 when tackling the BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Novice Chase in preference to the more prestigious Grade 1 Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown the following day, writes Elliot Slater.

Te main object of the Naas exercise is to reassure connections of the Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding that he is none the worse mentally or physically for his crunching fall sustained at Leopardstown at the end of December when coming to grief in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase in which he took a heavy fall at the fourth fence having been sent off the odds-on 4/5 market leader. Not only did the son of Strategic Choice take a nasty tumble, but he also brought down his Tony Martin-trained stable companion Gift of Dgab who in turn gave him a hefty kick in the head as he came down.

Not surprisingly after such an unpleasant experience Martin gave his star performer a few weeks complete rest and has gradually brought him back to something close to concert pitch, Bog Warrior having proved prior to his last outing that he is one of the best novice chasers in Ireland in rattling up a tremendously impressive hattrick that culminated in a stunning 31-length defeat of Shinrock Paddy in the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in November. People following the best ante-post Cheltenham race odds will have been very impressed.

Martin has gone on record as stating that Bog Warrior is undoubtedly the best horse he has ever trained and hopes will be high that the eight-year-old can resume winning ways and gain a confidence boosting success ahead of his likely bid for honours at the Cheltenham Festival in March where options are still open as to which of the RSA Chase, the Arkle Chase, or the Jewson Novices Chase, he will contest. That decision will finally be made in the aftermath of Bog Warrior’s Naas performance.

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