Down Royal preview: Coeur looks Sublime in WKD Hurdle

14th September 2021

This 2019 WKD Hurdle preview from Down Royal includes course winner Coeur Sublime (right)

Coeur Sublime has some very strong form in the book and looks a worthy 6/4 favourite with Ladbrokes to make a winning return to action in the feature race at Down Royal on Friday, the 2m Grade 2 WKD Hurdle (13:45).

This Gordon Elliott trained four-year-old scored in good style over course and distance on hurdles debut and then found only Chief Justice a short-head too good in a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse.

The son of Elusive Pimpernel then looked set to go one better in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown – only to come to grief at the last when yet to be asked a serious question.

Coeur Sublime was then not at his best when fourth in a Grade 3 at Gowran Park, but left that effort behind in no uncertain fashion when a cracking three-length second of 14 to Pentland Hills in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

After tracking the leaders under Davy Russell, he made smooth headway two from home to challenge going well at the last before being unable to find any extra close to home.

The winner went on to follow-up in a Grade 1 at the Aintree Grand National Festival. Quel Destin, the fourth home, landed a competitive class 2 contest at Cheltenham last weekend under a penalty.

That gives the form a rock solid look in relation to this lower grade affair. Coeur Subline went on to round off the campaign with a decent third to French Made in a Grade 2 at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.

Those efforts have earned him an official rating of 145. That gives him 3lb and upwards in hand on his four rivals. It makes Coeur Sublime the one they all have to beat.

Daylight Katie taken to shine in Grade 3

Elliott also looks to hold outstanding claims of landing the Grade 3 mares novice Hurdle earlier on the card (13:10) with Daylight Katie.

This six-year-old daughter of Bonbon Rose came good at the third time of asking in bumpers last season when staying on strongly to score easily by eight lengths at Gowran Park.

That taking success earned her a crack at a Grade 2 contest at the Aintree Grand National Festival. Daylight Katie ran a blinder to finish a 2 1/2 lengths third of 20 to The Glancing Queen.

She then ran very well when runner-up to then hugely exciting Gypsy Island in a Grade 2 at Punchestown, where although no match for the easy winner she stuck to the task well to be beaten five lengths and pulled nicely clear of the third home.

Those efforts suggested Daylight Katie would make up into a smart hurdler this season. That view was confirmed when she absolutely bolted up by 26 lengths at Fairyhouse last month.

Although what she beat that day is questionable, she was slick at the obstacles and it was visually a very taking performance which marked her out as one to keep firmly onside.

This is obviously a step up in class, but Daylight Katie is fully expected to take it in her stride en route to better things. She can be backed at 4/11 with Betfred to make it 2-2 over the obstacles.

All eyes on Samcro in beginners chase

In the 2m 3f beginners chase (14:55), Samcro makes his eagerly awaited debut over the larger obstacles and is fully expected to make it a winning one.

Also trained by County Meath handler Elliott, this seven-year-old looked to have the world at his feet when landing the 2m 5f Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival by a comfortable 2 3/4 lengths over Black Op.

Samcro then took on his elders for the first time in the Grade 1 Punchestown Champion Hurdle, but fell three from home when closing and yet to be asked a serious question.

Connections then surprisingly decided to keep the strapping son of Germany to hurdles rather than go down the chasing route.

After failing to sparkle when dropped back in class on return to action at this meeting 12 months ago a 1 1/2 lengths runner-up to Bedrock in the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle, Samcro got firmly put in his place when an eight-length runner-up Buveur D’Air in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.

Samcro then ran well below par when only fifth of six to Sharjah in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown over the Christmas period.

Following a number of niggling injuries, Elliott decided to call it a day and put him away for this season.

That looks like a shrewd move as Samcro remains a hugely exciting prospect and is bred to come into his own as a chaser.

An official hurdles rating of 160 also puts him in a different league to his six rivals.

So, despite cramped odds of 2/13 with William Hill, Samcro is impossible to oppose and this looks his for the taking granted a clear round on WKD Hurdle day.

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