Ruby Walsh: We won’t know how good Laurina is until she’s tested at Cheltenham

Top jock Ruby Walsh on Wednesday's win on Laurina, Thursday at Thurles and what floated his boat at the weekend...

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Laurina won well at Fairyhouse yesterday. I think there’s plenty left to come, but we won’t find out how good she is, until she runs again at Cheltenham.

One things for sure. She will need to run a career best is she’s to win a Champion Hurdle. They’re hard to win and it will be by far the best race she’s run in.

Apart from the quality and proven form that Buveur D’Air and Apple’s Jade bring, the Champion Hurdle will also be the first time she’s run in a Grade One race in open company and the first time she’s run in a Grade One race against geldings.

It’s going to be a big step up for her.

She’s run in six hurdle races for us, she’s unbeaten and has a lot of potential. Hopefully that potential will be enough to see her through at Cheltenham.

Clan-Des-Obeaux-Denman-Chase-Feb-19-Ascot

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Clan Des Obeaux did what he was expected to do. He was very impressive, very professional, has a good turn of foot and is a very precise jumper. I’d say Paul Nicholls is delighted with him.

It’s hard to make comparisons between him and Nicholls’ other recent Gold Cup winners, Denman and Kauto Star. He doesn’t really remind me of them. Denman had more presence in a race than Clan Des Obeaux and Kauto Star had more gears.

He still looks like a very good horse though, has won a King George and seemed to stay well at Ascot last weekend. He goes to the Gold Cup as a leading player.

Cyrname-wins-at-Ascot-Feb-19

Cyrname was another impressive performer at Ascot and is now the highest-rated horse in training – ahead of Altior.
I’m not sure about that. Ratings are just the opinion of the official British Horseracing Authority (BHA) handicapper. When you get to the very top horses, ratings are, by and large, irrelevant.

If they were going to run in a Grand National, maybe that’s fair enough. You’d be looking to see how well treated they were in a race like that compared to their rating. But Altior and Cyrname are never going to run in handicaps again. So, given their respective ratings now, is Cyrname better than Altior?

I would say no, he’s not.

The only way to prove who is better is for them to run against each other and for both to show their true form. That’s important. There’s no point one having a blow out and finishing 15 lengths behind the other. They both have to run to what we know is their best form.

There’s no real answer to the question, as there’s no direct proof, yet. It’s just the BHA handicapper’s opinion.

Cyrname hasn’t achieved what Altior has on the track to date, that’s for sure. Maybe they’ll get to face-off at Punchestown or Sandown later in the season. That would answer the question and be well worth watching.

Thurles 2pm

Paul Townend rides Real Steel in the opener at Thurles but both he and Jett must give away a fair amount of weight to their three rivals. He’s in good form, is a course winner and should go close.

Thurles 3.05pm

Harrie steps up in trip to 2m 4f but that should suit him. He was third to Felix Desjy over 2m at Punchestown in the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer hurdle in January and hopefully can run close to the top-rated’s mark (135) of Go Another One. That would put him in contention at least.

Thurles 3.40pm

The 3m maiden hurdle looks a pretty ordinary race. Paul rides Castle North who is in good order, has some decent enough bumper form and we’ll be hoping he can give a really good account of himself.

He might just be our best chance today.

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What do you think?