Past Winners » Flawless Escape


I am backing Flawless Escape here.  Gordon Elliott’s horse was unlucky not to get off the mark over hurdles on his hurdling debut at Punchestown last month.

Having travelled into the race well and joined the front rank, he made a fairly significant error at the second last flight before they turned for home.  He didn’t actually lose too much ground, but he lost his hind legs a little and it had to have cost him energy and momentum.

Even so, he travelled well to the final flight and, after Burrows Saint had kicked for home, he stayed on well up the run-in and just failed to catch him, going down by a half a length.

That was the first time that Roger Loughran had ridden him in a race.  The Sagamix gelding stayed the two-and-a-half-mile trip well, so it would not be surprising if his rider makes more use of his stamina today.  Also, it is probable that his trainer has had this race in mind for him since Punchestown, a two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle restricted to four-year-olds at Leopardstown’s high-profile Christmas meeting.  It is the ideal race for him.

Daybreak Boy is a danger, he ran well behind Shady Operator at Cork last month, and the winner went out next time and finished second to Sharjah, who probably would have won the Grade 1 novices’ hurdle yesterday had he not come down at the final flight.

And there is no knowing how good Francin could be, he won twice on the flat over middle distances in France, and he makes his debut for Willie Mullins today.  However, the champion trainer does not tend to have his top horses lined up for today’s race, he has won it four times in the last seven years, but not with horses who have gone on to reach the top of the tree.

Flawless Escape was second to a good horse in his only point-to-point and he was an impressive winner of his only bumper.  He shapes like a talented individual, and conditions should be ideal for him today.