Un Atout looking to enhance his reputation ahead of Cheltenham


RACING:Leading Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fancy Un Atout aims to enhance his huge reputation at Naas today.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old bolted up in a Naas bumper last January and could not have been more impressive on his hurdling bow at Navan a month ago. Un Atout is a 16 to 1 chance for the Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser ahead of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Irish Racing Writers Novice Hurdle.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins said: “He’s a course and distance winner in Naas, so we’re happy enough to let him run there.

“We’ll know a lot more about him after the race.”

Un Atout’s Festival credentials are likely be given a thorough examination, with Dessie Hughes’ dual winner Art Of Logistics and the Charlie Swan-trained bumper scorer Tangled Web in opposition. The six-runner field is completed by Rory O’Moore, Celtic Passion and Title Music.

However, the weather situation is only slightly better here than in Britain and Naas are staging an 8am inspection this morning to see if racing can go ahead and tomorrow’s card at Fairyhouse is subject to a 2pm call this afternoon. The course there was raceable yesterdaybut further rain would put the card in jeopardy.

Racing is facing a second successive whiteout after widespread snow led to a blank afternoon of racing in Britain yesterday. While Chepstow’s jumps card was an early casualty yesterday morning, even the all-weather meetings at Wolverhampton and Lingfield were unable to cope.

All three of today’s jumping fixtures at Taunton, Haydock and Ascot have also been abandoned, leaving just the Kempton and Lingfield Polytracks to try to beat the weather.

However, Kempton’s meeting is in serious doubt after officials called a 7.30am inspection this morning .

The all-weather circuit at the Sunbury venue is currently covered in snow. Clerk of the course Barney Clifford, who is currently in France, is not optimistic of the fixture beating the elements. Clifford said: “They’ve had three inches of snow, it’s still snowing and there is more snow forecast.

“The course is not raceable now and we’ll just have to see what they can achieve. It is not just about the track, there is the infrastructure and everything else to consider.”

Meanwhile, former Welsh National hero Le Beau Bai lost his battle to recover from a cracked pelvis and had to be put down yesterday morning.

Richard Lee and his staff at Bell House, near Presteigne, had been attempting to keep the 10-year-old as still as possible after his injury, which had ruled him out of defending his crown in the Chepstow marathon.

“It is four weeks to the day that it happened and it was all going very well,” said Lee.

“Unfortunately something happened to him – whether he did something to himself in his stable I don’t know as you can’t keep a watch on them all the time. “He was clearly in pain so we had to put him out of his misery this morning.”

Trained by David Pipe for one season until moving to Lee, Le Beau Bai earned just over £168,000 in prizemoney and won 12 of his 42 starts, including three victories at Chepstow.

His most recent triumph came in a handicap hurdle at Ffos Las in November.

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