SCARPETA FOURTH IN BALLYMORE AT CHELTENHAM
SCARPETA was an exceptionally game fourth in the Grade 1 Ballymore Novice’s Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last Wednesday. Our Willie Mullins trained five-year-old was having only his third start over hurdles and came into the race the outsider of the Mullins trained horses. He faced an exceptional field including the big Cheltenham hot pot and very special looking Samcro. Also lining up in the race were three other Willie Mullins trained horses including the grade one winner Next Destination, the improving Duc Des Genievres and multiple winner Brahma Bull. English trained horses were also well represented with Black Op and Vision Des Flos attempting to see off the Irish challengers.
Scarpeta had Willie Mullins nephew and Festival winning rider, Danny Mullins on board and he went off a 33/1 chance. Scarpeta was prominent throughout the race, ridden with confidence and assertiveness. He jumped all his hurdles bar one excellently and travelled like a dream throughout. Two out, he was still going strongly until the looming presence of Samcro began to stalk his tail and quickened up the hill to win by two and three-quarter lengths. Black Op was also up with the winner and took second. Scarpeta stayed on, battling all the way to the line to just lose out on third to Next Destination.
This was an impressive display from Scarpeta who is still relatively unexposed over the jumps and proved that he is very capable of performing well in this high-class company. He has improved an awful lot from his win at Gowran Park in January and looks like he tries his heart out every time he runs. What was very pleasing about his run was that all the right horses were involved in the finish. The five highest rated horses in the field finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th. The horses who finished in front of Scarpeta were rated 21 and 16 pounds superior to him prior to the race!
He has come out of the race really well and the aim next is to go to the Punchestown Festival in April.