Bob Olinger To Skip DRF And Head Straight To Cheltenham

Bob Olinger

Henry De Bromhead's superstar Bob Olinger will head straight to the Cheltenham festival and miss his engagement at the Dublin Racing Festival according to the handler.

Back in November 2019 the five year old won an Irish maiden at Turtulla by 15 lengths and was bought and given to De Bromhead off the back of it.

At Gowran Park in March 2020 he made his rules debut in a bumper and again showed clear talent to take the 2m2f event by 10 lengths, seeing off nice types for Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.

He was sent back to Gowran Park for his hurdles debut when him and Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow breezed away from the rest of the pack and he narrowly finished runner up behind the Cheveley Park horse.

He was then stepped up in trip at Navan in a maiden hurdle over 2m4f and he was an emphatic winner of the race beating a minor field by 14 lengths.

Next time out he was sent into the Grade One Lawlor Of Naas Novices' Hurdle and he breezed away from a good field to land the event by close to seven lengths.

He rounded off his season in total style when landing the Grade One Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival, seeing off the likes of Gailliard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame by close to eight lengths.

Throughout last term he showed speed and stamina and he retained that on his seasonal debut at Gowran Park when jumping a fence for the first time under rules and going on to win by close to seven lengths.

Given some time to brush up on his jumping he was seen for the first time since November this month and went on to take the Grade Three Kildare Novice Chase.

His jumping was much sharper and although looking slightly in trouble turning for home his unlimited gears saw him pull away from the field to win by close to five lengths.

Now a best price of 11/10 for the Cheltenham festival, it was rumoured he could be seen once more at the Dublin Racing Festival before heading to Prestbury Park but this will now not happen and he will head straight to Cheltenham.

De Bromhead told The Irish Times: “It’s nothing to do with ground, it’s just timing. He’s unlikely now to be honest (to go to Leopardstown). He’ll go straight to Cheltenham and it’s highly likely to be the Marsh (Turners Novices’ Chase).

Talking about the trainers bad patch of form over the Christmas period and of late, he added: “I wouldn’t say we’re all guns blazing but I also think a lot of it is we just haven’t got the bounce of the ball.

“We’re obviously not on full cylinders. But with a good few of them I just felt we weren’t getting the bounce of the ball. We could have had four other winners at Christmas, three of them on the last day.

“And if A Plus Tard had won the Savills we’d be told we were having a brilliant Christmas.”

James Mackie | @jamesmackieee