Ruby Walsh spoilt for choice on St Stephen’s Day

Champagne Fever and Faugheen bound for Kempton while Vautour on target to run at Leopardstown

Ruby Walsh in action on Vautour at Cheltenham. “Mrs Susannah Ricci owns them all so it’s a decision that doesn’t have to be made until the last minute.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ruby Walsh in action on Vautour at Cheltenham. “Mrs Susannah Ricci owns them all so it’s a decision that doesn’t have to be made until the last minute.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Ruby Walsh will leave it as late as possible before making a decision on his St Stephen’s Day destination.

Two of Willie Mullins’ stable stars, Champagne Fever and Faugheen, are due to be in action at Kempton while Vautour is on target to run at Leopardstown on the same afternoon.

As all three are owned by Rich and Susannah Ricci, Walsh does not need to make an early call.

“It looks like Faugheen will be on the bus to Kempton for the Christmas Hurdle on December 26 to join Champagne Fever’s King George VI Chase assault,” said Walsh in his Paddy Power blog.

“But Vautour has also been pencilled in for the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on the same day. A lot can happen between now and then, but it’s a dilemma.

“I can’t be in two places at once so we’re going to have to make a call closer the time. Mrs Susannah Ricci owns them all so it’s a decision that doesn’t have to be made until the last minute.

“I don’t think the drop back to two miles will bother Faugheen. He’s improved fitness-wise for his win at Ascot but this will be another big step up in class for him.

“We’ll learn a fair bit at Kempton about what we’ve got but I’d be hopeful he can deal with it. The course doesn’t worry me – it’s a flat track – but you still have to stay. The hurdle track is on the outside of the chase track so I don’t think he’ll find it too sharp.

Good winner

Champion

“I’m presuming Irving will line up and he was a good winner of the Fighting Fifth.”

Meanwhile, Pat Shanahan does not expect the current spell of bad weather to affect his plans for runners at Cheltenham on Saturday. Shanahan has Dolce N Karama and King Of The Picts entered at Prestbury Park, but storms battered Britain on Tuesday and Wednesday, preventing the intended Irish runners from getting to Hexham.

Shanahan is running Dolce N Karama, fourth in the 2013 Racing Post Trophy, in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial, while King Of The Picts is more likely to take on The New One in the StanJames.com International rather than run in the Osborne House Relkeel Hurdle.

Stiff task

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