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Schindlers Hunt

Schindlers Hunt ran quite a remarkable race to finish second to Notre Pere in the Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday. This was his first ever attempt at three miles, and the ground would have been way softer than ideal for him even over two and a half, so Paddy Flood held him up way out the back. He didn’t become a factor in the race until after the leaders had jumped the third last, and even at that stage, although you could see him beginning to stay on from well out the back, it never looked likely that he would get into the money. However, he stayed on really well over the last two fences and up the run-in to deprive Scotsirish of second place.

Dessie Hughes’s gelding was never going to get close to Notre Pere, no matter how he had been ridden. Jim Dreaper’s horse is top class on ground as heavy as it was here. He was just idling up the home straight, and he would almost certainly have found plenty more if anything had been able to get close to him. If it happened to come up soft for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March – probably a 16/1 shot, I know – then you wouldn’t want to be backing anything else in the race, Kauto Star or no Kauto Star. So Schindlers Hunt lost no caste in finishing second. However, this run does open up other options for him. When he got beaten by Imperial Commander at Cheltenham and by Voy Por Ustedes at Aintree, I had the Oscar Schindler gelding down being out-stayed. However, it now looks like he was out-speeded, especially given how Imperial Commander shaped like a non-stayer in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Schindlers Hunt is now nine rising 10, but there could be some mileage left in him yet over three miles, especially on good ground. It would be surprising if Dessie Hughes did not at least start him off over three miles next term. It would be interesting to see how he would get on against Kauto Star and Notre Pere in the Nicholson Chase on better ground at Down Royal in November.

29th April 2009