Cashel Beginners Chase | 2m1f | 4yo+ | RTV
Captain Guinness is already second favourite for the Arkle with a few firms and those credentials will be put to the test here as he faces two rivals who were rated 142 over hurdles.
There were plenty of educated observers who were convinced Captain Guinness was poised to pounce in the Supreme and would have been fighting it out up the hill with Shishkin and Abacadabras had he not been brought down at the second-last.
That was only the third run of his life so for him to have travelled through it with such verve and enthusiasm has enhanced the excitement about him going over fences.
Henry de Bromhead has the canny knack of getting his team to improve for the switch to chasing and Captain Guinness is surely his most promising new recruit this term. Betway cut him from 16-1 into 12-1 on Monday morning for the Arkle so it will be interesting to see whether that move is justified.
Soviet Pimpernel cut little ice in the Supreme, dropping away tamely to finishing ninth of 15, but his Limerick victory over Gardens Of Babylon reads well and he is a 142-rated hurdler with the size and scope to go even higher over fences.
Aramax had an identical rating to Soviet Pimpernel over hurdles after winning the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham off a mark of 138. He only finished eighth on his chasing debut at Galway last month but was in contention jumping the final two fences in the dip before getting tired and he should improve upon that.
Unexcepted, a half-brother to the free-going Great Field, could also develop into a high-class chaser so this is no stroll in the park for Captain Guinness.
That said, he could turn out to be too classy for them and there will be a few long faces if he does not begin his new career with a win.
What they say
Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Captain Guinness
He’s in good form and has been schooling fine. He’s still a bit young but has always looked a chaser in the making. It looks a good race. I wouldn’t be concerned if the forecast rain arrives.
Peter Fahey, trainer of Soviet Pimpernel
His schooling has gone very well so, touch wood, he brings that to the track. We always thought he would make a lovely two-mile chaser so this will tell us whether he is going to be that or not. It's a very, very competitive race.
Willie Mullins, trainer of Unexcepted
He is a half-brother to Great Field and we think this could be his game. He jumps well and the track and trip will suit. Hopefully the ground won’t be too heavy for him.
Gordon Elliott, trainer of Aramax
He was very good in the Fred Winter and is a nice horse. He just got very tired on his first start over fences at Galway.