Irish raider goes on 18-hour journey in search of French Grade 1 glory

2019 Stayers

An action-packed Saturday of British racing comes from seven venues. Goodwood, Haydock, Newmarket, Curragh, York, Stratford and Lingfield are the meetings in question and we’ll have horse racing tips for all of them.

There is plenty of interest, however, in the French action this weekend. Auteuil hosts a card that is headlined by the Grade 1 Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil and there’s an Irish raider who’s taking their chance. With an 18-hour journey in store, the trainer isn’t sending him over for the scenery! Find out all the details below.

4:00 Auteuil – Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil

The horse in question is Matthew Smith’s Ronald Pump, who is looking for his maiden top-level success. He certainly wouldn’t be winning it out of turn, having gone closer on numerous occasions, including under today’s jockey Robbie Power.

He rose to prominence in the 2019/20 season, where he started the campaign over fences. Winning his debut in that sphere, he was then a well-beaten second behind Fakir D’oudairies in a Fairyhouse Grade 1. Second in a competitive handicap hurdle at Leopardstown on his next start, his third and final chasing outing came when well beaten in a Grade 3 at Naas a few weeks later.

The decision to return him to hurdling full time was a great one. Sent off 20-1 for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the 2020 Festival, he finished a very game second. Ultimately, it was mistakes that proved to be his undoing and perhaps had he not been struck into as well, he may have potentially poached the prize.

Nevertheless, he’s continued his progression into this season. Beaten just half a length by Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace, a return to three miles was an obvious plus when finishing third to Klassical Dream in the Champion Stayers at the Punchestown Festival. Ultimately, you’d have to say he’s been unlucky not to be a Grade 1 winner at this stage.

This French adventure is perhaps his best chance yet. On RPRs, he’s right in the mix, and a strong test over this 3m 1f distance should really suit him. A winner on heavy ground in the past, the surface is no concern either and this likeable eight-year-old will fly the flag proudly for Ireland.

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