Grade 1 hurdler If The Cap Fits heads Paul and Clare Rooney salesPublished on: April 13, 2020Author: Jamie Clark
If The Cap Fits, a Grade 1 winning hurdler, is among the Paul and Clare Rooney sales of jumps racehorses after the owners quit National Hunt to focus on the Flat.
The Rooneys had three horses placed at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, winning the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle (now known again as the Ballymore) with Willoughby Court.
They also had two seconds in Barney Dwan behind Presenting Percy in the Pertemps Final and Verni, runner-up to Champagne Classic in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
The way in which these owners have fallen out of love with jumps racing has been spectacular.
Just over a year prior to the Rooney sales, they instructed their trainers not to make any Cheltenham Festival entries citing safety concerns.
There was then a U-turn, but ultimately none of their horses appeared at the premier National Hunt meeting in 2019.
It is worth remembering that they ran their staying chaser The Last Samuri five times over the Grand National fences at Aintree when trained by Kim Bailey.
The Rooney sales of their jumps string benefits other racehorse owners, though current trainers may keep the animals within their yards.
Chief among the horses is If The Cap Fits – a dual Coral Hurdle winner at Ascot.
Trained by Harry Fry who has had similar success with fellow staying hurdler Unowhatimeanharry, the eight-year-old was being readied for a defence of the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree when the National Hunt season came to a halt.
Munir and Souede benefit from Rooney sales
According to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), If The Cap Fits has been bought by Simon Munir and Issac Souede. They are also big jumps racehorse owners in the British Isles.
If anything, their two-tone green silks have been more prominent on racecourses in the UK and Ireland than the Rooneys’ blue and yellow quartered colours in recent years.
On his penultimate start for his former owners, If The Cap Fits beat Munir and Souede’s Call Me Lord by half-a-length.
He has since struggled to handle the undulations of Cheltenham when a below par fifth in the Cleeve Hurdle and skipped the Festival as a result.
If The Cap Fits remains unexposed as a staying hurdler after just two starts over 3m.
He was only three lengths behind surprise Stayers’ Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar in the Cleeve who has since reversed that form with Paisley Park and Summerville Boy.
Lightly-raced for his age after eight wins from just 13 career starts, If The Cap Fits is a horse with options.
While his new owners could go down the novice chasing route, there are a number of staying hurdle races to consider without targeting the Cheltenham Festival.
Early 2020-21 season targets for If The Cap Fits could include the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle on Charlie Hall Chase day at Wetherby or Long Distance Hurdle during Newbury’s Winter Carnival.
He could also bid to become the first horse to win the Coral Hurdle three times, then step back up in trip and return to Ascot for the Grade 1 Long Walk in December.
The campaign for If The Cap Fits could then have the Liverpool Hurdle or Champion Stayers at the Punchestown Festival as spring targets.
Other Fry horses already have new owners
Fry has also found buyers for some of the Rooneys’ other horses. Another of note is Get In The Queue – the horse that Noel Fehily retired on.
This talented six-year-old hasn’t been out since landing the valuable Goffs UK Spring Sales Bumper at Newbury in March 2019.
Having won all three of his National Hunt Flat races, however, Get In The Queue remains a talented novice hurdle prospect for next year.
Masterson Holdings Limited, who sponsor the four-year-old race at Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting in October, have now bought him.
They also have King Roland in training with Fry and enjoyed 2016 Punchestown Festival success with Fletchers Flyer in a staying handicap chase.
Get In The Queue has 33/1 quotes with bookmakers for the 2021 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Ballymore.
Winningseverything, meanwhile, is unbeaten in two hurdles outings, and Jago and Allhusen picked him up at the Rooney sales.
Also aged six, he has won at right-handed minor venues Southwell and Market Rasen. The new owners of Winningseverything also have Pure Bliss in training at Fry’s Dorset stables.
The BHA have also received notification that Dan Skelton’s Longhouse Sale has been bought by the Rio Gold Racing Club. This syndicate has a number of horses with the Midlands handler.
Horses with Nigel Twiston-Davies such as Go Conquer and Good Boy Bobby haven’t found new owners as yet.
It is understood that racing manager Jason Maguire oversees the Rooney sales as they concentrate solely on the Flat moving forward.