Irish Roe ‘hated the ground’ says mare’s trainer

Irish Roe (far side) rose to prominence when dead-heating at Cheltenham in November 2016.
Irish Roe (far side) rose to prominence when dead-heating at Cheltenham in November 2016.
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CONNECTIONS feel Irish Roe struggled with the testing conditions when disappointing in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

The seven-year-old mare, trained by Northallerton farmer Peter Atkinson, was pulled up in a prestigious race won by Kalashnikov.

“She seems absolutely fine. She just hated the ground, I think. It was just far too soft for her,” said Atkinson’s wife, Lucinda.

“That would have been the softest she’s ever had to deal with. Soft at Doncaster is a bit different to the soft on Saturday. We’re not in any rush to make any plans. We’ll just let the horse tell us where she wants to be and go from there. We’ve made no decision on anything at the moment.”

Irish Roe, who cost £2,000, had gone into the Newbury feature on the back of two wins at Doncaster and a creditable second to Maria’s Benefit, also at the South Yorkshire track.

The Atkinsons train just two horses and were compensated for the Newbury disappointment when Reverant Cust won at Catterick yesterday under Finian O’Toole.

The meeting saw the Sue Smith stable continue their fine form with wins for Sharp Response and Straidnhanna.

However, with the Smith-trained Vintage Clouds and Hainan being withdrawn from Saturday’s Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock, there will be no Northern-trained runner in the prestigious race.

The field is headed by the diminutive Becher Chase winner Blaklion who remains favourite for the National ahead of the publication later today of the weights for Aintree’s world famous steeplechase in April.

Ruth Jefferson’s Waiting Patiently – unbeaten from five starts over fences – is one of seven entries for the Grade One Ascot Chase this Saturday. The line up incldues Colin Tizzard’s ever popular Cue Card.