09/08- This one should be treated with a little caution, as he missed the festival last year, his last run was February and the year before he only had three runs. Maybe he’s a little fragile or they may just be being patient with him. Perhaps a bit of a forgotten horse in the markets for the festival next year, it will be interesting to see whether they opt to go novice chasing with him or keep him over hurdles for a crack at the champion hurdle where he seemed likely to go last year. He’s currently 33/1 for both the Arkle and the Champion Hurdle. I think the 2 miles suits him more than the 2 miles 4 so I think if he was mine I’d suggest the Arkle over the Marsh.
The horse I’m talking about is Saint Roi for Willie Mullins. He’s lightly raced for a 6-year old but is undoubtedly talented. After a couple of promising runs in France, placing in a flat maiden and a listed hurdle. He made his debut for Willie Mullins finishing 5th of 17 over 2 miles and 3 furlongs, he then dropped back to 2 miles and won his next maiden easily. He then won his first handicap start in the County Cup on only his 3rd start for Mullins. He won by some four and a half lengths, taking advantage of a stupidly low mark. Last season, he won again on his next start which was his reappearance in a grade three at Tipperary over 2 miles by 5+ lengths. He was then upped to grade one company in the Morgiana where he went off odds on, only to finish a neck second to Abacadabras who showed the was no fluke by winning the Grade One Aintree Hurdle and going off just 10/1 for the Champion Hurdle. He then finished 4th in another grade one where he went off the favourite, possibly disappointing on the face of it but he reversed form with Abacadabras by 18 lengths and recent decisive Galway winner Saldier even further back. He was only 5 lengths back from the winner that day which was Champions Hurdle second Sharjah. Just in front of him in third was Petit Mouchoir who placed in the County this year off of a massive weight and isn’t bad form in itself, and in second was Aspire Tower who has some excellent form himself. In my opinion, his only ‘bad’ run was his last. But that day Honeysuckle ran them all ragged and the race sort of fell apart, with most of them eased down over the line. He actually reversed that previous form with Petit Mouchoir finishing almost 20 lengths ahead of him, and he closed the gap with Sharjah by 3 lengths. The fact that Sharjah has since twice got much closer to Honeysuckle shows that we can partially put a line through that bit of form. You could also argue that the fact he hasn’t been seen since may be due to a slight setback.
Personally, he looks a chaser to my eye and the 33/1 available for the Arkle is huge considering he was one of the early season favourites for it last year off the back of his county success.