Ruby Walsh: Dropping Roaring Lion back in trip is a huge call

Ruby Walsh gives his thoughts on Roaring Lion over a mile in the 15:15 at Ascot, and wonders whether Cracksman (15:50) is all he's cracked up to be...


14:00 Ascot

Harry’s Angel is a very good horse but he’s probably ground-dependent. The Tin Man probably looks the one. He isn’t any value but you know he’s going to go in it.

14:40 Ascot

It’s a chance for Lah Ti Dar to get back to winning ways. She was second in the St Leger, and it just depends what kind of a mark that’s left on her.

I think Magical ran better in the Arc than her finishing position would suggest, and Coronet is not a bad filly either.

As for Lah Ti Dar, at the end of a 3-year-old campaign, and after running in the Leger, she could be runnable.


15:15 Ascot

I don’t know if this is a step too far for Roaring Lion, but I wonder whether it’s right for him to step back in trip. He didn’t win the 2000 Guineas over 8f, yet when stepped up in trip to 10f in the Eclipse he won.

He won the Juddmonte Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes, but they were all over 10f. They’ve dropped him back to a mile here, at which distance he has been beaten. That’s the one question mark over him – he’s a very good horse but he didn’t win a Group One until he went up to a mile-and-a-quarter – so going back to a mile, I don’t know, is that the right call?

A mile is a mile, whatever the ground is. It’s possible the softer stuff here could negate the speed of the others a fraction, but I’m not sure it’ll make too much of a difference either way. Perhaps going back to this distance is to bolster his stallion career or give them more options for next year, but I think it’s a brave call.

As for Laurens, she’s been rock solid, but will she go on the ground? That’s a big question mark. People say she won this because of that, and this race because of the other, but whatever she’s doing, she’s developed a fine knack of winning races. She’s a very good filly.

15:50 Ascot

I’d be taking on Cracksman all day. He was a wonderful racehorse, but the Cracksman I saw at Ascot in the summer wouldn’t be for me. John Gosden is an absolute genius of a trainer – if anybody can things around for the horse it’d be him.

But the horse hasĀ gone backwards. He’s coming back here fresh but he’s still a colt – they haven’t gelded him. To me he looked like he wanted to be a stallion at Ascot, not a racehorse.

I think Capri, who beat him at the Irish Derby, ran a fine race in the Arc and will handle the ground, so he’s much better value than Cracksman.

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What do you think?