Turf Talk: Aussie runner Big Blue eyes up Cheltenham Festival

AUStralian runner Big Blue is set to fly to Europe later this week with a Cheltenham Festival outing in his sights.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 6:27 am
Cheltenham, during this year's Festival meeting. PIC: Nigel French/PA Wire

The seven-year-old was placed at Group One level in France when trained by Andre Fabre, switching to Australia at the end of 2016, where he won last year’s St Leger at Randwick and the Galleywood Hurdle at Warrnambool back in May.

Big Blue is trained by former jumps rider Ciaron Maher in partnership with Dave Eustace, who is excited to see how the Galileo gelding measures up in Britain.

“He’s obviously a very good stayer and a good jumper too, who has got to the top level here,” said Eustace. He’s got very, very sporting owners in Colin McKenna among many others. Ciaron and everyone’s love of racing in the team makes it really exciting. It will be very interesting to see how he measures up. He was obviously a very high-class flat horse in France and a good jumper here so it will be really interesting and a real adventure.”

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Maher previously handled Bashboy, who Ruby Walsh partnered to win the 2015 Australian Grand National, and Eustace admits his partner is very eager to make the trip to Prestbury Park.

“He’s always wanted to take a horse over there,” he added. “He seriously considered it with Bashboy. He’s aware you need to take the best of the horses here to measure up, so it’s been in the back of his mind for a long time. He looks the right horse. He’s still, as a jumper, progressive and he’s very lightly raced over jumps.

“Which races he runs in, we are not sure yet, because it’s obviously going to be difficult giving him a handicap mark and we’re still trying to work that out now.”

“But, four days (of racing), there’s lot of races he can run in.”

SOBOT’S SELECTIONS

WARWICK: 12.30 Captain Woodie, 1.05 Rosemary Russet, 1.35 Subway Surf, 2.10 Mister Fisher, 2.40 Flinck, 3.10 Milansbar, 3.40 Nearly Perfection.

KEMPTON: 4.10 Last Date, 4.40 Comeatchoo, 5.10 Gazelle, 5.40 Hurricane Alex, 6.10 KHUZAAM (NAP), 6.40 Infrastructure (next best), 7.10 Sir Prize, 7.40 Guroor.

HEXHAM: 12.50 Frightened Rabbit, 1.25 Warendorf, 2.00 Kiltealy Briggs, 2.30 Graystown, 3.00 Supremely Lucky, 3.30 Dark And Dangerous.

CHEPSTOW: 1.15 Love Lane 1.45 March Is On, 2.20 Getaway Fred, 2.50 De Forgotten One, 3.20 Samtara, 3.50 Champagne Chaser.