Ruby Walsh: A lot will depend on how Enable hits the gate in Breeders’ Turf

Here's Ruby with his thoughts on two of the big Breeders' Cup contenders, as well as a look at the WKD Hurdle and the Charlie Hall...



Samcro is obviously going to be the one to beat. He’s the highest-rated, and is a very very good horse. He’s going the Champion Hurdle route, and it’s a great place for him to start.

I think we’ll run Sharjah. He’s the highest-rated of ours and the one that’s probably most likely to take on Samcro. He’s on form and was a good winner of the Galway Hurdle. He has race-fitness on his side, albeit when he met Samcro before he was a good bit behind. Still, the advantage he’d have here would be that fitness.

He’s three pounds well in, but that’s Sharjah’s rating with a handicap hurdle penalty. As a novice, he was rated behind Samcro, but has since won the Galway Hurdle – Sharjah hasn’t yet one off his revised mark; Samcro has run to his current mark. We’ll see on Friday if the handicapper is right or not.

I don’t know if we need a guide on how good Samcro is. We saw enough of his rear-end last year to appreciate how good he is.

Bedrock might also get in the mix here. In the Galway Hurdle, he was off the pace. It was a long way back and he did well to run on and finish where he did. He was a much slicker, sharper horse in Tipperary, so of course he’s in the shakeup – he beat Wicklow Brave well, so he’s entitled to take his chance.


For me, this renewal really signals the start of the real National Hunt season. It looks like it could be a cracking race.

The allowance in the Charlie Hall is a huge thing, and it does tend to suit the horses getting it. Thistlecrack gets 6lbs here off the main contenders in light of his recent results, which is a huge pull over 3m at this level.

For that reason I’d hate to be opposing him in this race.

It’s been a couple of seasons since he was on top form, but horses have good years and ordinary years. I learned from Kauto Star and Hurricane Fly that you write off a class horse at your peril. You can’t write them off until they’re retired.


Enable has got a draw in Stall 2 in the Turf, which is a great draw providing you break.

If you break well you can slide forward into a beautiful position. But if you miss the break, two is a nightmare – you’re stuck down the paint behind a lot of horses with nowhere to go.

A lot will depend on how Enable hits the gate.

But she’s a class mare. I thought she was brilliant in the Arc, and could have improved since then. John Gosden stated she hadn’t had the ideal prep for that race, so she could be a better filly again.

If she hits the gate right, she’ll be hard to beat.


Roaring Lion will be some value if he can manage to win this. However, for a horse with no experience on the dirt, I don’t think he could have got a worse draw in Stall 1.

In dirt racing, the speed they go through the first three furlongs will be very difficult for him. He’s going to get a huge amount of kickback, and I think he faces a massive task. 

As for Mendelssohn, Aidan O’Brien has geared the whole year around this race. For a frontrunner like him, Stall 9 is probably not a bad draw. If you’re a fraction slow in nine, you still have space in front of you to get forward; if you’re a fraction slow in one, they’ve already closed the door on you.

But I wonder: is he really good enough?

Aidan has gotten him loads of experience, and the style of racing – the relentless pace they go from the stalls – will be a help to him. He probably has an each-way chance, but that’s all I can see.

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What do you think?