Thank you for signing up. 

We've sent you an email. Please click on the link to verify your address.

Win big with FREE Tips from our experts

Get our professional tips mailed direct

RSA Chase hope Ballycasey can bounce back from slip up says Mick Fitzgerald

Former top jockey Mick Fitzgerald believes Ballycasey will have learnt a valuable lesson from his tumble in a racecourse gallop at Leopardstown ahead of a crack at the RSA Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

The Willie Mullins-trained grey gelding is favourite to prevail at Prestbury Park following wins at Navan and Leopardstown over fences, having kept on well to outstay Don Cossack in the Grade 1 Dr PJ Moriarty Novice Chase last time out.

However, what was intended to be his final piece of serious work did not go according to plan as he pulled very hard and unshipped Ruby Walsh early on when scheduled to complete a circuit of the last-named course.

On the plus side, Walsh was able to later remount the seven-year-old and pop over one obstacle in the home straight and former Gold Cup and Grand National-winning rider Fitzgerald feels the whole experience could prove a blessing in disguise. 

"The good thing was Ballycasey went to the next obstacle and gave it six feet," said Fitzgerald on At The Races. "When you've got a horse like this that runs at his fences, you want him to use his brain and have that in gear.

"It was great that they got him back out there over another fence with Ruby on too, because the horse was okay, the jockey was okay, so why leave it with the horse having hit the deck? Not a chance; you want him back out there because this could be the best lesson Ballycasey has ever learned.

"If he's going to be silly, he needs to learn what's going to happen if you don't back off an obstacle and I think he's learned his lesson. This will not be the last time this horse schools either, because Willie will give him another little go at home, out of the limelight and away from the glare of the cameras.

"With horses it's important you finish on a good note, that way you're taking a positive away from the day. It was not a perfect preparation but I would not be too bothered."

Ballycasey is very lightly raced under rules, having had just one bumper and three outings over hurdles before switching to chasing this season, but Mullins was surprised to see him make such an error.

"He's only had two runs over fences on the track, but actually he had three runs in point-to-points before we got him, so he shouldn't be doing that sort of thing," said the trainer. "But they were going a fair lick down there and I think he just got excited and didn't realise the speed he was landing.

"Hopefully that will stand him in good stead when it comes to racing on the big day. That's why we come here. You come here for the experience, to iron out those little things, it's great experience for a horse to come up here and jump the fences for a full circuit - you can't really replicate that at home, no matter what schooling you do."

Mullins certainly has a solid record in the RSA Chase, having prevailed three times in the past with Florida Pearl (1998), Rule Supreme (2004) and Cooldine (2009) and Ballycasey remains at the head of this year's betting on that contest.


Cheltenham promotions United States
Change Location


Share this with your friends

To:
From:
Your comments:

RSA Chase hope Ballycasey can bounce back from slip up says Mick Fitzgerald

Former top jockey Mick Fitzgerald believes Ballycasey will have learnt a valuable lesson from his tumble in a racecourse gallop at Leopardstown ahead of a crack at the RSA Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages