Tag Archive for: Rubaud

Rubaud returns to Wincanton with Kingwell in his sights

Rubaud returns to the scene of one of his finest hours in pursuit of further riches in the Jennings Bet Kingwell Hurdle on Saturday.

Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old has won six of his 11 starts over the smaller obstacles and struck at Wincanton in the Elite Hurdle earlier in the season, his fourth win in a row.

Since then he has faced the mammoth task of taking on Constitution Hill at Kempton in the Christmas Hurdle and also had the misfortune of bumping into an imperious Lossiemouth at Cheltenham in the Unibet Hurdle.

He now returns to what appears slightly easier company and despite the champion trainer having some concerns about conditions, he heads to the Somerset venue as the highest rated in the field.

“He’s been a very consistent horse, but the ground would be a slight worry to me,” said Nicholls.

“He did run very well as a novice on soft ground at Kempton on Boxing Day, but most of his form has been on good ground.

“He’s a bit stronger now, but he enjoys right-handed and an easy two miles. Our intention is to go here and then one more run later down the line, nothing fancy, then he will be going chasing. That’s when you will see the best of him.”

Rubaud in action at Ayr last season
Rubaud in action at Ayr last season (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rubaud had Lorna Fowler’s Colonel Mustard three lengths adrift when they finished first and second in last season’s Scottish Champion Hurdle and the duo are set to lock horns yet again as chasing ambitions are finally put to one side for the Irish raider.

“I think his time over fences is not going to bear the fruits we hoped, but we had a go at chasing because his mark is high enough over hurdles,” said Fowler.

“We decided after Newbury to revert back to hurdles and have always had the Kingwell as sort of a plan from then.

“I’m very happy with the horse and hopefully he will travel OK – he usually does. He does have a massive weight turn around with Rubaud from when they met at Ayr, Rubaud is undoubtedly an improving horse and Mustard will certainly have to bring his A game to be able to beat him.”

Colonel Mustard is no stranger to trips to the UK having placed at the Cheltenham Festival in 2022 and also going close at Ascot and Kelso – as well as Ayr – in the past.

Fowler would have preferred better conditions for this latest raid across the Irish Sea, but with over £41,000 on offer to the winner, she feels it is a risk well worth taking.

She went on: “The ground is not really what I want, but then I’m not sure it’s what any of them want and Wincanton have put on some very good prize-money. I have UK-based owners and we’re all keen to have a go and we think it’s a good opportunity and worth a shot.

Colonel Mustard in action at Cheltenham
Colonel Mustard in action at Cheltenham (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Colonel Mustard hasn’t run for a while and is back over hurdles, but he did have a schooling race at Thurles a few weeks ago and hopefully he is in the zone to run his best race.”

Nigel Twiston-Davies won this with the ill-fated I Like To Move It last year and attempts to go back-to-back with Guard Your Dreams, while Gary Moore also has fond memories of the race and returns dual-winner Goshen to Wincanton sporting first-time blinkers.

The field of five is rounded off by Kerry Lee’s Nemean Lion who the handler says is in “great form” as he prepares to drop back in trip after a brave second in Kempton’s Lanzarote Hurdle.

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Cobden keen on Rubaud chances in Elite Hurdle

Harry Cobden expects Rubaud to prove difficult to beat in Saturday’s West Country Weekend Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.

The Paul Nicholls-trained five-year-old had a progressive profile last season, which ended with him winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr.

He showed there could be more to come this term when winning first time out in Listed company at Kempton last month, when connections expected him to need the run, and Cobden feels that bar Constitution Hill, Rubaud could take some stopping on his side of the Irish Sea.

“Rubaud is in good form after winning at Kempton the other day. The handicapper put him up 9lb for that, but you would want a good one to get by him here I would say,” said Cobden.

“He was impressive when he won the Scottish Champion Hurdle last season, but he was only running off a mark of 135 then. Now he is up to 150 and hopefully he can run up to that mark.

“I can’t think of too many horses in this country that would beat him in this division in Britain apart from Constitution Hill.

“He would struggle to lay a glove on Constitution Hill, but someone has got to win these races and we might as well keep him in this division and win as much as we can.”

Rubaud on his way to winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle
Rubaud on his way to winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle (Jane Barlow/PA)

Cobden went on: “He needed his first run as he hadn’t been away for a gallop. The runner-up at Kempton (Too Friendly) was race-fit and Rubaud was fresh.

“He can take a chance at his hurdles and the only thing I would say about his Kempton run was that he was bit low at the odd one, but he got away with it.

“That run will have taken the gas out of him and he is a horse that really wants it and he will stick his head out for you. He has got a nice way of galloping, and he has a nice low head carriage.”

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Rubaud pleases Nicholls with winning Kempton return

Scottish Champion Hurdle hero Rubaud made a successful start to his campaign with a front-running victory in the Trustatrader Approved And Reviewed Trades People Hurdle at Kempton.

The five-year-old had won four of his seven previous starts for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, including Grade Two triumphs in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at this track in February and on his most recent outing at Ayr in April.

With Harry Cobden in the saddle, Rubaud was sent off at 2-1 for his reappearance and proceeded to lead his rivals a merry dance from flag-fall on his way to a near three-length victory.

Too Friendly was best of the rest in second, with 13-8 favourite First Street third and Alan King’s popular veteran Sceau Royal – seeking a third straight win in this Listed event – back in fourth.

Nicholls said of the winner: “I thought he would improve (for the run), but to compete at this sort of level he had to improve as at the weights he had a tough old task from last year, but he has gone and done that.

“I thought beforehand he looked big enough for his first run of the season so he will improve. He will now go to Wincanton in three weeks’ time for the Elite Hurdle. That was always the plan to come here and then go to Wincanton as it suits him to go right-handed.”

Looking further down the line, Rubaud could return to Kempton on Boxing Day for a potential clash with the mighty Constitution Hill.

Nicholls added: “We will probably run him in the Christmas Hurdle as someone has got to finish second to Nicky’s (Henderson) horse, and it is good prize-money.

“We will stay hurdling and go chasing next autumn as he is only five. He is a good level hurdler and we can choose our races with him and then go chasing next autumn.

“The two Grade Two races, the one in a few weeks, and the one in February (Kingwell Hurdle) will suit him quite well.”

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Rubaud takes Scottish Champion Hurdle spoils

Paul Nicholls was full of praise for his jockey Harry Cobden after watching him make all the running on Rubaud in the Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr.

Cobden worked out on Friday that in front was the place to be – riding a treble for his boss – so he was keen to be in the box seat on the 7-2 favourite.

Since being bogged down in the ground when fancied for the Betfair Hurdle the five-year-old has won the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton, and it seems he prefers to go that way round.

Cobden had difficulty steering him at times, yet despite that still had plenty up his sleeve to hold off the late thrust of Lorna Fowler’s Colonel Mustard.

On quick ground, Rubaud jumped fluently throughout and stayed on strongly, holding off the Irish challenger by three lengths. Last year’s winner Anna Bunina was back in third.

Nicholls, who will be officially crowned champion trainer for the 14th time next week, said “That was a fantastic ride from the front, he’s not the easiest of rides but he’s beginning to relax.

“He went to Aintree last week, but we didn’t run him as the ground had gone soft. That was a fantastic ride.

“He jumps brilliant, you can see, he’ll be a fantastic chaser. He’s only young so we might start over hurdles and see where we end up.

“Harry is fantastic, he has a lot of confidence, he’s only 24 and is a fantastic team player, I’m really proud of him.”

Cobden told ITV Racing: “He’s definitely better right-handed. He was hanging the whole way. Down the back I edged into the middle of the course and going around the top bend I actually had two hands on my left rein to get him round it.

“He’s a lovely horse and will make a lovely chaser next year.”

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Rubaud makes amends for Betfair Hurdle reverse

Rubaud put a disappointing effort in the Betfair Hurdle well behind him with a gritty success in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.

The Paul Nicholls-trained youngster was strongly fancied for the richest handicap hurdle of the season at Newbury a fortnight ago but gave himself no chance by racing far too freely.

Front-running tactics were employed this time by Harry Cobden and fitted with a hood he was much more settled.

Cobden was able to dictate matters at his own pace and when he kicked coming out of the home straight, he looked to have an unassailable advantage.

The favourite Hansard soon dropped away, as did Ukantango, but the mare Mullenbeg quickened up to almost join the leader.

She could not quite reel him in, though, and went down by a length and a quarter.

Rubaud leads Mullenbeg over the last
Rubaud leads Mullenbeg over the last (Nigel French/PA)

“We probably should have put a hood on him at Newbury where he got lit up and was far too keen,” said Nicholls.

“He’s a proper horse who jumps nicely and will now go to Aintree for the Grade One over two miles.

“He’s in the Supreme but there’s no point going there, he will have a much better chance of being able to dictate at Aintree.

“He goes a good gallop, he’s a good horse but just needs to learn how to relax.

“We had his wind sorted out and he’s been one that’s needed time, a bit like Solo who we saw at his best in the Pendil.”

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