Horses To Follow » Rule The World

Rule The World

Rule The World put up one of the best performances of his career when he landed the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs at Naas on Saturday.

Sent to the front from the start by Bryan Cooper, the Gigginstown House horse’s jumping was good, and he travelled easily into the home straight. Upsie and Jennies Jewel closed up on him a little on the run to the second last flight, but as soon as Bryan Cooper gave him a kick in the belly after that obstacle, Rule The World picked up nicely. Three lengths clear at the final flight, he continued to come away up the run-in, getting stronger the further he went, and he was eased down to win by seven lengths from Jennies Jewel, with Dunguib running a cracker to finish third, some nine lengths back.

This was a hugely encouraging run from Rule The World, and it was necessary if he was to re-establish his credentials as potentially a high-class staying hurdler. He was a really exciting novice last season, he beat Minsk and Champagne Fever in the Slaney Hurdle at Naas 12 months ago, and he finished second to The New One in the Neptune Hurdle, but he fractured his pelvis at Punchestown in April, and there was always a chance that he would never return completely to the horse that he was before his injury. He did win at Naas on his return, but he finished well behind Jezki in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, and he was beaten on merit by Zaidpour in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

This was much more like it then. Jennies Jewel is a good mare, and the Mouse Morris-trained gelding beat her comprehensively, giving her 12lb, 1lb more than he would have been giving her if this had been a handicap. This on ground that should have been softer than ideal and over a distance that should have been shorter than ideal. Also, the time was good, just outside Racing Post par and the fastest time on the day by some way.

Mouse said afterwards that, as long as he is okay, he will go straight to the World Hurdle now, and that makes a lot of sense. This is a typical Mouse Morris Cheltenham preparation: keep them busy until January, then give them a break and freshen them up for Cheltenham. He does have to progress if he is to be a World Hurdle contender, but he is progressive again now, the step up to three miles should be in his favour and the prospect of better ground is a positive. We know that he goes well at Cheltenham, and, with Solwhit out for the season, Big Buck’s a returning 11-year-old, Bog Warrior returning from injury and Annie Power not a certain runner, the World Hurdle title could be up for grabs this year.

18th January 2014