Princess Zoe intends to stay jumping instead of flatwork
As he believes there is more money to be earned in jumping than by having Princess Zoe do only flatwork, Tony Mullins will keep her jumping for the time being.
The well-liked eight-year-old mare has had a successful start to her hurdling career, dead-heating with Ladybank at Punchestown in January. She finished second to Subjectivist in the Ascot Gold Cup in 2021 and won the Group Three Sagaro Stakes at the Berkshire track in April.
After making a mistake at the last race, Danny Mullins’ horse finished a respectable sixth to “You Wear It Well” in the Jack de Bromhead Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, her second effort in this field.
Tony Mullins said that Princess Zoe’s owner has told him that he has no interest in breeding her, which also sits fine with him.
“As long as she is secure, he wants to race her. She had a few wounds and scrapes, but we are hopeful that she will compete on Easter Sunday at Fairyhouse in the mares’ novice hurdle championship final, which is worth 100,000 euros.”
With the major contenders (You Wear It Well and Magical Zoe), who carried penalties at Cheltenham but wouldn’t in Grade One, she would be 5lb worse off in that race.
“We’ve been considering returning to the Flat. She will, I have no doubt, but she can earn more money in jumps and, in my opinion, with far less competition. Even though we haven’t abandoned the notion of a Gold Cup, we believe leaps attract more sponsorship dollars and face less competition.”, added Mullins.
After losing the Gold Cup, Ahoy Senior felt “a little sorry for himself.”
Racehorse Ahoy Senior is to head to the Bowl at Aintree if he gets over his fall at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The eight-year-old racehorse, who is trained by Lucinda Russell, last season happened to be among the top novice chasers from Britain and had a clear-cut win in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree. He managed to overcome Grade One winner L’Homme Presse and King George VI Chase winner Bravemansgame.
Although he’s faced tougher challenges this season, he managed to bounce back after he had poor results at the Cheltenham Cotswold Chase.
When leading the Gold Cup field to the final five jumps under Derek Fox on Friday, everything was going well for Ahoy Seniour’s comeback to Prestbury Park. However, he went in too close and fell heavily. Peter Scudamore, an eight-time champion rider and Russell’s partner and helper, said that Russell was unaffected by the fall.
“He seems a little down on himself. He is healthy and complete. That’s just the kind of horse he is. I believe he feels nearly ashamed of himself for falling, but he’s okay, and in a few days, he’ll get over it.” responded Scudamore when asked about his horse’s condition.
“He ran quite well. With God’s blessing, he’ll probably travel to Aintree. If he can recover from that in the remaining four weeks, he will run. He’s going to be given a week of solitude, likely a fortnight of work, and then one more peaceful week before the marathon.”
Love Envoi considering Punchestown as an option
Ireland’s Love Envoi, who delivered a career-best performance while losing on her debut to Honeysuckle at the Cheltenham Festival, pleased her jokey Noel Fehily.
The seven-year-old mare came back to Prestbury Park having won eight of her nine previous starts and on the heels of an impressive 13-length victory at Sandown in January. She was a Festival hero for Harry Fry and the Noel Fehily Racing Syndicate in 2022
Love Envoi proved she was worthy of her spot in the Mares’ Hurdle on the first day of racing. After pulling ahead of Honeysuckle early on, Love Envoi later engaged in a tremendous struggle with the two-time Champion Hurdle victor.
Although Love Envoi lost to Henry de Bromhead’s leaving superstar in the final 100 yards, Fehily feels his horse merely improved her reputation in loss and the outcome is evidence she is continuing on an upward path. The duo could not be separated leaping the final flight.
Due to the restricted alternatives available to mares in the remaining months of the season, a journey to Ireland for the Grade One Mares’ Hurdle, which Marie’s Rock won last year, may be in the cards, if she recovers fully from her enormous Cheltenham performance.
When considering Love Envoi’s next move, Fehily stated, “Really, it would only be Punchestown – the mares’ race there. But we will wait a few days to see how she is. We’ll wait and see how she is after the challenging race she had the other day. If she’s bouncing, we’ll think about sending her to Punchestown; if not, we’ll confine her until the next season.
The season could be over for Edwardstone
Since Alan King is looking for the cause of Edwardstone’s underwhelming performance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, it seems doubtful that he will race again this year.
The nine-year-old, who was the impressive winner of the Arkle last season, had a stop-start preparation owing to the exceptionally rapid ground conditions this term.
The Willie Mullins-trained Energumene defeated him in the Clarence House Chase, which was moved from Ascot to Cheltenham. Although he was sent off as the second-favourite at 15/8 odds, he never travelled with any ease and came in 64 lengths behind Mullins’ star.
The horse is in great health, according to King. There was no return of the lameness he experienced previously, but checks will be done over the next week or two.
“We may discover something. We have a lot to accomplish, but as of right now, I don’t have any solutions. With himself, he is happy. The following morning, he was OK.
Of course, we are upset since I was so impressed with his planning, but whatever it was, I knew we were exhausted after two fences,” the author said.
Blazing Khal to choose between Aintree or Punchestown
After seeing his winning streak at the Cheltenham Festival stop, Blazing Khal may have the chance to rebound at Aintree or Punchestown.
The seven-year-old horse owned by Charles Byrnes entered the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle unbeaten in five races and with an astonishing resume, having scored twice at the track and excelled in the Boyne Hurdle while preparing for Festival competition.
Blazing Khal was sent out as the 9/2 second-favourite for the main race on day three despite a cut sustained in the Navan triumph causing concerns in the lead-up to his Prestbury Park assignment.
As the pack approached the bend for home, Blazing Khal was well placed leaping the second last and was moving well for the handler’s son Philip beside Teahupoo in an attempt to emulate Solwhit, who won for Byrnes in the 2013 race.
Blazing Khal came under pressure when he was approaching the final turn and then faded up the hill to finish sixth, defeated by well over 11 lengths, in contrast to Gordon Elliott’s 9/4 favourite, who went on to play a key role in the outcome.
He will now have a few weeks to recover from his Cheltenham attempts before the next course of action for the horse is known. Byrnes prefers the shorter distance of the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, which will be hosted on April 27th.