Horses To Follow » Sous Les Cieux

Sous Les Cieux

Sous Les Cieux was really impressive in winning the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday. He took up the running from a long way out, he did it the hard way from the front, and he beat a very good horse in Galileo’s Choice, a Group 3 winner recently on the Flat, who will admittedly probably be better on better ground, in a good time, the fastest comparative time of the day on a day of high-class racing with three Grade 1 contests.

Sous Les Cieux did settle pretty well in second place, and he got a good tow through the first half of the race from Dazzling Suzie, but he was the more fluent of the front pair and he jumped to the front at the third last. He picked up and extended on the run to the second last with minimal encouragement from his rider Ruby Walsh. Galileo’s Choice did lay down a challenge as they came to the last, but he was under heavy pressure to do so, and Walsh still hadn’t gone for Sous Les Cieux at the last, he just had to nudge him into the final flight to elicit a fluent jump, and the son of Robin Des Champs was always holding the runner-up fairly readily, despite the fact that Dermot Weld’s horse closed to just a length and a quarter at the line.

Sous Les Cieux looks as though he will be even better stepped back up in trip now. He did travel well through this race, but he was idling on the run-in and he could find further improvement back up in trip. He would probably also be better if he didn’t have to be ridden so aggressively, if he could have a lead for longer, which would be the case if he stepped back up in trip. He had easily landed his maiden hurdle at this track on his previous run over two and a half miles, and that looks the way to go with him now.

Post-race comments were interesting. Mullins said that he didn’t think he had a better novice, and Walsh’s initial reaction was that he would be better stepped up in trip. As such, he is a live contender for the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, which looks much more the race for him than the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at this stage. Best odds of 12/1 about him for the Cheltenham race are fair.

4th December 2011