Cromwell chasing new milestone in Drinmore

By Sports Desk December 02, 2023

Exciting prospect Letsbeclearaboutit could hand Gavin Cromwell a first Grade One win over fences in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

The County Meath handler has Champion Hurdle and Stayers’ Hurdle triumphs on his ever-growing CV, but a top-level victory over the larger obstacles has eluded him so far.

However, he may have found the ideal candidate to land a telling chasing blow in the form of his scopey eight-year-old, who is unbeaten in two starts at the beginning of his fledgling career over the bigger obstacles, barely putting a foot wrong so far.

A taking fencing bow at Gowran was followed up by a facile 10-length victory in a Cork Grade Three and the handler holds the gelding in the highest regard, having always operated at a demanding level.

“He was a good bumper horse and a good hurdler and since he’s gone chasing, he’s taken his form to a new level, so hopefully we can maintain the upwards curve,” said Cromwell.

“He looks like a chaser and he’s scopey and he enjoys jumping fences. When they enjoy it, that can bring about some huge improvement.

“He’s right up there (with the best) and we will no more on Sunday, but he’s clearly been a good horse since the get-go and hopefully will run a big race on Sunday.”

Cromwell will also saddle Perceval Legallois, who was producing a fine display of jumping before falling three out in the Cork contest won by stablemate Letsbeclearaboutit and is now backed to outrun his odds in the colours of JP McManus.

“He was running a great race and for a horse that fell in a race, he jumps well,” continued Cromwell.

“They had just increased the pace in the race and it was just a novicey fall, but touch wood, he came home fine and was running a lovely race, so we’ll see how he goes on Sunday.”

Gordon Elliott has farmed this race in recent times, winning it a record seven times and using it as a stopping point for many of Cullentra House’s greatest alumni.

The likes of Don Cossack, Delta Work and Envoi Allen all have their names on the roll of honour and hoping to join them is Found A Fifty, who appeared to relish the switch to fences when an eight-length winner at Down Royal.

“Found A Fifty is a good horse,” Elliott told Racing TV. “I probably made a mistake last year by going to the well a couple of times too much with him – I put myself under pressure and made the wrong decisions.

“He was very good the last day over fences and we’re very happy with him, chasing is his game and he’s a lot more settled this year.

“Last year, he got very revved up and I should never have gone to Aintree with him, that was my fault.”

The final two runners belong to Willie Mullins, who saddles the 10-year-old veteran Grade One-winning hurdler Sharjah and Irish Grand National hero I Am Maximus.

Stable jockey Paul Townend will link up with the former, who has won both outings over fences to date and was a 12-length scorer in a Tipperary Grade Three in October.

He told Ladbrokes: “He’s two from two over fences so far and has shown a lovely attitude for it.

“My Irish Grand National winner, I Am Maximus, also runs here and he just qualifies for a novice as well, having not won a chase until the National last Easter. He probably wants a step up in trip.

“On what they have all achieved over hurdles though, Sharjah sets the standard and wouldn’t it be brilliant if he could win a Grade One over fences on top of all the Grade Ones he won over hurdles.”

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