Sir Erec confirmed the promise of his Christmas debut by trouncing a packed field in the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle, the first of four Group Ones on the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
A high-class flat performer, who finished third to the all-conquering Stradivarius in the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot in October, the son of Camelot moved from Aidan O’Brien’s stewardship to that of his son Joseph and has taken to hurdling with aplomb.
The unseasonably dry conditions and resultant quickening ground has led to a raft of non-runners and Coeur Sublime’s withdrawal did rob this race of a major contender.
It was still deep however, with the Willie Mullins-trained Tiger Tap Tap only having a neck to make up on Sir Erec, Chief Justice a Grade Three victor, and Surin and Gardens Of Babylon also having strong form.
Sir Erec took up the running from the drop of the flag and was never challenged. It did look for a moment as if Ruby Walsh was ready to make a challenge on Tiger Tap Tap, but Mark Walsh had saved plenty of energy on the pacesetter, who pinged the last and accelerated clear to win by six lengths from staying-on stablemate, Gardens Of Babylon, with Surin in third.
It was the second one-two for O’Brien Junior in a Grade One this weekend after Le Richebourg, also owned by JP McManus, defeated Us And Them in yesterday’s Frank Ward Solicitors Novice Chase.
“Making the running wasn’t absolutely ideal but he’s very complicated” said O’Brien.
“Mark gave him a lovely ride, got him in a great rhythm and he said when the horse heard the horse heard the horses behind him going to the second last he jumped on the bridle and he knew from there he was in good shape.”