"We just don't know at the moment" - De Bromhead stumped by A Plus Tard no-show
- Key quotes from Henry De Bromhead on A Plus Tard
- A Plus Tard was pulled up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday
- De Bromhead told The Irish Independent that the vets had found no problems yet
- He also provided an update on King George contender Envoi Allen
Trainer Henry de Bromhead on the gallops at Cheltenham Racecourse. (Getty)
Henry De Bromhead provides an update on A Plus Tard, following his failure to finish the 2022 Betfair Chase.
A Plus Tard2023 Gold Cup OddsGET 10/1 HERE
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Few dared to take A Plus Tard on heading into Saturday's Betfair Chase. Rachael Blackmore's mount had romped to victory in the same race 12 months previous and was last seen sprinting clear of the field to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup by 15 lengths.
There were no clues in the betting as to what was about to unfold. A Plus Tard was sent off as the 1/2 favourite. Yet, the writing was on the wall fairly early on. Blackmore's mount was a little slowly away and his jumping was far from fluent. The favourite attempted to make up some ground on the long turn for home, but A Plus Tard's tank emptied rapidly and he was pulled up before the final flight, as Protektorat powered to an impressive victory.
Immediately following the race at Haydock, A Plus Tard was checked by veterinary staff. Nothing came to light then and De Bromhead remains mystified as to why the Gold Cup winner put up such a poor performance.
"We just don't know at the moment." De Bromhead told the Irish Independent.
"Our vet was doing a lot of things with him this morning and I haven't spoken to him since. I just saw him (A Plus Tard) this morning and he trotted out perfect."
"His bloods have been checked and his heart. His bloods were done last Monday and they were perfect, I think the racecourse checked his heart straight after and he scoped and he was perfect."
"He's moving perfect. People were saying he was a bit reluctant to go down to the start, I didn't see that. Genuinely I don't know."
The Gold Cup is such a grueling race, it often takes runners a while to recover. Plenty of the more recent Gold Cup winners have struggled following their Cheltenham heroics, but De Bromhead doesn't think that contest has left an indelible mark.
"I'd say you always have a hard race in the Gold Cup, but he came back looking great, we were delighted with him and his work has been amazing. He worked really well 10 days or two weeks ago." De Bromhead continued.
"Could it be as simple as the ground? I definitely felt we didn't travel as well or jump as well as we did last year, or as we normally would, but he can do that - I thought in the Gold Cup at stages he wasn't blowing me away."
"I just hoped like in the previous year he locked on turning in and I thought for a little bit he was starting to travel, but he got in tight to one of them and that was it."
"Rachael said she was never happy and I felt it was too bad to be down to the ground. We're stunned really about it."
Last year, A Plus Tard went from Haydock straight to Leopardstown, where he was beaten a head in the Savills Chase by Galvin. Despite that poor showing in the Betfair Chase, a return to the Leopardstown Christmas Festival remains' Plan A for the team.
"You've still got the guts of six weeks to the Savills Chase." De Bromhead said. "We'd love to go there once we feel he's right, but obviously we'll be doing every test we can between now and then to make sure he's right.
"Of course you'd prefer to have a reason, without it being a career-ending one, but sometimes you don't and they come back anyhow."
Envoi Allen2022 King George VI Chase OddsGET 6/1 HERE
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With A Plus Tard earmarked for Leopardstown, stablemate Envoi Allen will head to Kempton for a crack at the King George VI Chase. Rachael Blackmore was in the saddle as Envoi Allen bounced back to winning ways in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase on his reappearance at Down Royal and De Bromhead is confident the Kempton race will suit his resurgent star.
"I think we plan to go to the King George and then we'll see after that - that's the main aim.", De Bromhead said.
"We can sharpen his jumping up a little bit. We're so used to him being so extravagant, but maybe over three miles, going that stride slower he's not as exuberant."
"I think the way his wind is, he needs nice-ish ground - I'd be more concerned if it came up very soft."
"I loved the way he ran through the line at Down Royal and travels really well. Unlike with Minella Indo last year going to Kempton where I thought 'I have to force this', I presume this guy will just travel away in behind them. Hopefully it will suit him."
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