Horse racing: El Mondo could prove a new star at Warwick

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There’s jumps meetings at both Warwick and Kelso tomorrow, but it’s over in Ireland at Fairyhouse where the classy racing takes place on a card featuring three Grade Ones.

Although the fare on offer in this country does not compare, we might see a new star at Warwick in El Mondo for Nicky Henderson and Tony McCoy (1.10pm).

This animal returns to the racecourse after a whopping 752 days off and that stat alone will have many punters running a mile.

However, Henderson is a past master at bringing horses back from lay-offs in cherry-ripe condition and if even half fit, the classy French recruit will run his rivals into the ground.

El Mondo has yet to even run in Britain and indeed his only two runs on any course were in France at Auteuil back in 2009 when he twice hacked up in hurdles races when odds on favourite.

Even then, it is clear this horse had some reputation and that reputation has grown since switching to Henderson’s yard under the ownership of the legendary JP McManus.

There is no doubting the esteem this five-year-old is held in and Henderson and co will be expecting him to strike at the first time of asking.

During his recent stable tour, the Seven Barrows trainer enthused: “He looked a top-class prospect as a three-year-old when winning at Auteuil.

“JP felt another year would do him no harm and gave him time to mature into what should be a very exciting chaser. He came in last season but didn’t make it to the racecourse due to a hind-leg injury, so he returned to Martinstown.

“He’s now back here in fantastic condition and I hope we can exploit his enormous potential.”


Another bonus is that McCoy also rides Warwick even better than most other tracks – and don’t I know it after going against him in every race on New Year’s Eve 2009 when he had four winners!

The only real problem is El Mondo’s likely price as he has basically scared off any meaningful opposition though George Nympton and Lady Willa are not complete mugs and hopefully this exciting Henderson horse will be on offer at a backable price, even though he looks nigh on certain to be odds on.

If he does go off a ludicrous price – and that’s entirely possible – then from a punting point of view it might be worth waiting for Henderson and McCoy’s Tour D’Argent at 2.10pm.

He looked a very promising horse on his first two runs last season before finding the Aintree bumper too hot to handle but there was no disgrace in that.

Tour D’Argent now has a decent chance to get back on track but opposition such as Black Noddy and Themilanhorse should ensure he goes off an okay price.

Captain Loui, meanwhile, for the excellent Sam Twiston-Davies, clearly sets the standard in the first (12.40pm) while Malton trainer Richard Fahey may provide the best bet on Kelso’s card in Our Joe Mac in the opener (12.30pm).

He ran a blinder when second to the very smart Molotof last month on debut and even on that form he should go one better tomorrow – let alone with any improvement – although Merchant Of Dubai was smart on the flat and rates a danger.

Best of luck with your bets, back soon after a quick week off.

Trainer Jessica Harrington watches Our Dukeat her Commonstown Stables in Moone, Ireland. PIC: Niall Carson/PA Wire

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