Arkle Favourite Le Richebourg Ruled Out for the Season
Favourite for the Arkle Le Richebourg has been ruled out for the season after picking up an injury at home over the weekend. Trainer Joseph O’Brien revealed that one of his stable stars had worked on Saturday but was unsatisfactory during that piece, and the trainer had him tested afterwards. That testing found the injury, and it is enough to rule him out for the season, which means he will miss the Arkle and also anything else after, which would likely have been a run at the Punchestown Festival.
Ahead of this news, we looked set for a thrilling Arkle Chase at the festival, with a big list of potentially top class runners heading to the race. Le Richebourg was the 11/4 market leader for the race after two good wins over Christmas and recently in Ireland, and he was emerging as one of the strongest challengers for owner JP McManus.
The six year old has only lost one race over the bigger obstacles, winning four this season including one Grade Three and two Grade One races. At just six there is still plenty of time with this horse and while he will miss the remainder of his novice year, the long term future of this horse has to be taken into account.
If you look at what he has achieved over the past few weeks then there is no doubt that there will be many more big days with this runner when he comes back next season. He looks likely to get further than two miles in time, and while the festival is being missed this season, he could well be back for something like the Ryanair in 2020 assuming all goes well with his injury before then.
This is a big blow for racing fans, but I get the feeling that this horse is going to come back next season just as well, and ready to compete in the top races.