Need a talented two-mile chaser - who you gonna call? No not the GHOSTBUSTERS, but rather the REPUTATIONBUSTERS!
The ‘go-to’ trainer in the two-mile chase division was at it again on Saturday, when the Gary Moore trained Violet Dancer romped to victory in the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick. The three runner event was billed as a suitable prep for the Nicky Henderson trained L’Ami Serge. Sent off the 1/5 favourite, he was expected to cruise to victory, further enhancing his Arkle Chase credentials. However, Mr Moore had other ideas, and again captured a valuable Saturday prize.
Violet Dancer joins a powerful looking team at Cisswood Stables, with Sire De Grugy, Traffic Fluide and Ar Mad already exhibiting their talents on the track during the winter. The six-year-old has a similar running style to the yard’s star novice, and between them they have now downed both of Henderson’s leading two-mile novice chasers, with Ar Mad having beaten Vaniteux at Christmas.
Violet Dancer attacks from the front, forcing errors from those trying to land a blow. At Warwick neither L’Ami Serge nor Fox Norton were able to get close, with the contest all but over turning for home. Just as exuberant though less flamboyant at his fences than Ar Mad, this fella is quick to put himself right at his obstacles and spends very little time in the air. He has the look of a flat track bully, likely to be at his very best on tight turning tracks.
Winning jockey Jamie Moore said: “He's very genuine and tough and hard like a lot of Dad's. I thought I'd serve it up to L'Ami Serge down the hill and again turning in. He can hit the odd fence, but he's a very hard horse and has won impressively.”
Henderson felt that his horse had failed to produce his best, but in truth he was hurried out of his comfort zone, and never looked to have the gears to reel in the winner. Last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle exposed L’Ami Serge’s inability to cope with a relentless gallop. He remains a talented horse, but he’ll need to be stepped up in trip if he is to have any chance of winning at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Moore’s have Ar Mad going left-handed at Plumpton today, with a ticket to Cheltenham resting on his performance. For me it’s the wrong track to test him on. The tightness will exaggerate any tendency to jump out to his right, whereas a track like Cheltenham would be more forgiving. Nevertheless, let’s hope he passes the test and takes his position on the Arkle starting line. The race would be the poorer without him.
Whatever the outcome, Team Moore continue to thrive, and have the ammunition to take on all-comers in two-mile chases over the coming years.