Past Winners » Clondaw Warrior


Clondaw Warrior is eight years old, but he is still a potentially well-handicapped horse on the flat. He won the November Handicap at Leopardstown last October on his latest run on the flat off a mark of 86, and he gets to race off just a 3lb higher mark today. That November Handicap hasn’t worked out especially well, but it is always a competitive race and a 3lb hike for winning it is not harsh.

More than that, however, Clondaw Warrior improved over hurdles since. He ran a cracker to finish third in the Greatwood Hurdle on his next run off a mark of 121, and he ran big races to finish placed in big-field handicaps at the Fairyhouse and Punchestown spring festivals. He is now rated 132 over hurdles, 11lb higher than he was when he last ran on the flat, and it is probable that he will be able to translate that improvement to the flat.

On top of that, he is trained by Willie Mullins, who won this race three years ago with Simenon, so you know that he will have been trained for this. Also, the fact that Mullins has booked Ryan Moore is a massive positive, not only because Clondaw Warrior will have the assistance of Moore, but also because Mullins went to the trouble of booking him. Moore rode Simenon to win this race three years ago, and to win the Queen Alexandra four days later, and he rode Pique Sous for Mullins to win the Queen Alexandra last year.

The ground is not a concern, despite the fact that it was soft ground at Fairyhouse and Punchestown this year. Clondaw Warrior has won on good ground, and he won a bumper at Cheltenham in November 2011 on good to form ground for Shark Hanlon. Indeed, Hanlon regarded him as a summer jumper.

He stays two and a half miles over hurdles, and he was second and third in two point-to-points, so there is every chance that he will stay this extended trip today. I thought that he should have been clear favourite, and he is worth backing at 8/1.