Tag Archive for: Encanto Bruno

Cromwell records double with smart prospects at Cheltenham

My Mate Mozzie and Encanto Bruno both breezed to victory to provide trainer Gavin Cromwell and jockey Keith Donoghue with a double on the opening day of the new season at Cheltenham.

Having won a Grade Three over hurdles, as well as being narrowly beaten in the Grade One Royal Bond two years ago and in the Galway Hurdle this summer, My Mate Mozzie’s ability was not in question ahead of the squareintheair.com Novices’ Chase.

However, he has on occasion been a weak finisher, including when beaten by 50-1 shot The Big Chap at cramped odds on his debut over fences at Fairyhouse three weeks ago.

Despite the doubts, My Mate Mozzie was a 4-7 favourite to reward those who kept the faith with victory and ultimately got the job done with consummate ease.

French recruit Jetronic took the field along for much of the two-mile contest on his British debut for Paul Nicholls, with Al Zaraqaan his nearest pursuer and My Mate Mozzie settled third of the four runners in the hands of Keith Donoghue.

Jetronic and Al Zaraqaan were both still in there pitching approaching the last, but My Mate Mozzie threaded between the pair under a motionless Donoghue and got up to beat the former by three lengths.

Coral make My Mate Mozzie a 33-1 shot for the Arkle Trophy at the Festival in March.

Gavin Cromwell was delighted to see My Mate Mozzie prove his class
Gavin Cromwell was delighted to see My Mate Mozzie prove his class (Simon Cooper/PA)

Cromwell said: “It was good. He jumped out a little bit to his right, and he made a couple of little novicey mistakes, but I’m happy with the result anyway.

“He arrives in all of his races travelling very well, and he has got beaten odds-on in running trading very short on a few occasions, but thankfully he didn’t today.

“On ratings he should have won at Fairyhouse no matter what way you rode him, but I think he really needs to be ridden to arrive late on and he probably only just barely sees out the two miles.”

Cromwell will consider a return to Cheltenham for the Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial on November 17, but future plans are ground dependent.

He added: “He could possibly come back here for the Arkle Trial next month, but it will all be ground permitting. I don’t think you would run him on ground that’s too soft. We will give him a little break in the middle of the season then bring him back in the spring.

“He will have to get another bit of experience along the way somewhere and step forward plenty from that to be competitive at the Cheltenham Festival, but we wouldn’t rule it out.”

Encanto Bruno won in similarly dominant style on his debut for the Cromwell team in the Trustatrader Novices’ Hurdle.

The five-year-old won a bumper at this meeting last year for John McConnell before going on to contest the Champion Bumper and returned to the Cotswolds as the 11-4 favourite, despite being pulled up on his most recent appearance at Galway.

Encanto Bruno and Keith Donoghue at Cheltenham
Encanto Bruno and Keith Donoghue at Cheltenham (Tim Goode/PA)

Encanto Bruno cruised into contention under an ice-cool Donoghue before kicking two lengths clear of Gordon Elliott’s Mel Monroe, with the Henry de Bromhead-trained Tag Man making an Irish one-two-three.

Cromwell added: “He was keen quite early, and he jumped a few of them quite big, but he travelled very strongly and won very well.

“Although he goes quite well at home I’d say he is a far better racehorse than he is a workhorse, which is always the way you like to have it. I’m delighted with that, and it was a good performance.

“He is a pretty straightforward horse and I’m delighted to have him. It was one of those runs (when he pulled up the last day) that you leave behind you as there was something amiss and I wouldn’t read into that.

“He is versatile, as he has won over two and a half miles today, and although he doesn’t show much pace at home he could certainly come back to two miles as he was quite keen at home.

“He is a lovely horse to look forward to. I think he will be a lovely horse when he jumps a fence too.

“We will go away and have a think about it and have chat with the owners and Keith (as to what we do next).

“I don’t think he would like deep Irish winter ground so he would be more for the spring.”

Betfair left Encanto Bruno unchanged at 25-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and 33-1 for the Ballymore.

Cromwell added: “We will have to look at a better race next and when life gets harder that’s when we will see how good he is.”

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John McConnell readying strong Cheltenham team

Autumn course winners Encanto Bruno and Fennor Cross are set to be part of John McConnell’s team for next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Encanto Bruno, a £210,000 purchase after winning his sole start in the point-to-point field, made a winning debut under Rules at Cork in July before powering up the Cheltenham hill in October.

The form of the latter event could hardly have worked out better with the runner-up Strong Leader winning each of his three starts over hurdles, while Encanto Bruno has enjoyed a mid-season break.

The five-year-old is a 20-1 shot for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Prestbury Park and is reported to be firmly on course for that Grade One assignment.

“He got a break after Cheltenham and is back in full flow now, so the plan is to go straight to Cheltenham with him,” said McConnell.

“It was a good bumper he won and hopefully he’s developed a bit more physically since and we can get more out of him.

“The Simon Munir and Isaac Souede horse that won in Navan (It’s For Me) is probably the standout in the Champion Bumper, but we can only turn up and see how our horse does.

“Certainly the form of his race is solid, he’s won at the track and he’s a laid back character, so we’re very happy to have a go at it.”

Fennor Cross won a maiden hurdle at Cheltenham in October and returned to the track to claim a Grade Two prize at the November meeting.

Fennor Cross in action at Cheltenham
Fennor Cross in action at Cheltenham (Tim Goode/PA)

He too has been kept fresh for a spring campaign, with McConnell adding: “He goes straight to the Festival as well. I’m not sure what race he’ll run in yet, it could be the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or it could be the Martin Pipe. He’ll get an entry in both and we’ll see.”

Another likely Festival contender for the County Meath handler is the resurgent Seddon, who won over hurdles at Cheltenham in October before bolting up over fences at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.

McConnell said: “He’s gone up a lot in the weights, but he was entitled to I suppose.

“He’ll be entered in the Coral Cup and the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase (Festival Plate) and we’ll have a look at both races nearer the time and decide then which way we go.”

The trainer confirmed Anna Bunina will head for either the County Hurdle or the Coral Cup after finishing fourth behind Gaelic Warrior at last weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival, while he has a couple of potential runners in the Triumph Hurdle.

Jackpot de Choisel won by 32 lengths on his second start over obstacles at Ayr last week, while multiple French Flat winner Hypotenus has not even run over hurdles or made his debut for McConnell yet, but he is considered an exciting prospect.

“Jackpot De Choisel will have another run and we’ll see then. He’ll be qualified for the Boodles as well as the Triumph Hurdle and we’ll have a better idea of where we’re going after his next run,” the trainer added.

“Hypotenus will probably run in a Grade Three in Fairyhouse in a couple of weeks and we’ll see how he gets on. He’s a big horse and he’ll be a lovely horse to have as a novice for next season, so we’re in no big rush with him, but if he ran very well in Fairyhouse we might be tempted to go for the Triumph.”

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