Ruby Walsh believes that Next Destination, the current second favourite for the RSA Chase, could be the horse to land him another success in the race.
Speaking about the two-time Grade 1 winner, he admits: “We think he could be a really smart novice chaser and you have to dream. He has the potential to be top class and he’s got a great attitude.
Of our novice chasers, he’s the one I’m most looking forward to riding this season.
Referring to the strapping Getabird, a horse bred to be a chaser, he explains: “What his trip will be over fences, I don’t know. He’s an ex-bumper horse so he could be open to go up in trip, but he has pace so he’s not pigeon-hold into going one department. He has a lot of ability and he’s an exciting one to have.”
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Draconien attacked his hurdles when he won the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown and Ruby is hopeful he will do the same over fences: “He’s a stronger horse this year and more mature. He’s got a lot of speed and he could be an exciting two-mile novice chaser. Long term, he could be an Arkle horse.”
Cilaos Emery, he says, wasn’t far off the top two-mile hurdlers last season. “There wasn’t much between him and Melon and we saw the progress Melon made last year. Hopefully Cilaos Emery can do the same this year.”
Bacardys needs a little bit more luck than he had last season and Ballyward didn’t fulfil his potential over hurdles with Ruby hoping that fences might suit him better. Should Coquin Mans tackle fences, Ruby believes ‘he has the scope and power to make into a really good chaser’.
He adds that recent impressive Galway Beginners Chase winner Voix du Reve could step up in trip given his style of running, while the Drinmore Novice Chase might be on the agenda for Cadmium, who is only a novice for a few more weeks.
Asked what horses could prevent Willie Mullins from winning a fourth Arkle Trophy in five years, Ruby wasn’t long in nominating the chief dangers.
“I think you can forgive Defi Du Seuil for most of last year. The Hobbs’ horses were in and out of form and he was only a five-year-old. He was a brilliant winner of the Triumph Hurdle and he’ll definitely be a player. Joseph O’Brien’s Le Richebourg has also caught my eye on his two wins over fences so far and I was very impressed by him at Tipperary,” he explained.
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