Down Royal: Robin routs WKD field
Colin Bowe’s Little King Robin may be small in stature but what she lacks in size, she more than makes up for in sheer determination. The 6yo King’s Theatre mare continued her meteoric rise through the ranks today at Down Royal, making it five wins in a row over hurdles and recording her first Graded success in the WKD Hurdle.
A change to front running tactics has brought about huge improvement in Bowe’s charge and having arrived here off the back of a Listed success at Punchestown two weeks ago, was fit and ready for another battle from the front. Mark Walsh, who has ridden the mare throughout the majority of her career, quickly sent his charge to the front and the pair had opened up a good lead by the time they reached the fourth flight.
The lead had diminished slightly as the race came to the closing stages, with 2/1 favourite Arctic Fire closing in menacingly before three from home. The jolly did get his head in front between the last two but Little King Robin was not to be denied and battled back to win going away by 3 lengths. 33/1 outsider Orgilgo Bay ran a blinder to finish third.
Another mare that continued her winning run in fine style at the Northern track was the Willie Mullins trained Morning Run. The 5yo, also by King’s Theatre, brought her unbeaten run to five in the Grade 3 Mares Novice Hurdle on the card, making nearly all under Ruby Walsh.
A winner of three bumpers in the summer, Morning Run got off the mark over hurdles at the first time of asking at Tipperary earlier in the month and made light work of a step up in class here to record a whopping 7 1/2 length victory. Having been keen early in the 2 mile contest, Walsh sent his mount to the front at the third flight and that would be where they would stay throughout.
They would never see another rival but did have to survive a scare at the last where Morning Run got in tight and stumbled, but she picked herself up and ran on well to the line for an easy victory.
Mullins said afterwards: “She’s improving all the time, and while she was a bit novicey at the last she’s very slick to jump. We’ll keep upping her in grade and will look for a Grade 2 next. We’ll keep her in mares’ company for the moment.”
Also on the cracking card at Down Royal, Apache Stronghold made a good start to life over fences with a solid win in the Beginners Chase. Noel Meade’s charge, a Grade 2 winner over hurdles last season, was always going to make into a nice chaser and he proved that today under Paul Carberry, putting in an excellent round of jumping from the front before winning with plenty in hand from fellow Chasing debutante Thunder And Roses.
Apache Stronghold was given a quote of 20-1 by Paddy Power for the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in the aftermath.
By Kevin Walsh 31/10/14
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