Lalor Needs Good Ground For Festival

Lalor Needs Good Ground For Festival

Kayley Woollacott has confirmed that Lalor needs good ground to produce his optimum best, after a lacklustre display in the Henry VIII Novices Chase at the weekend.

The going was deemed heavy at Sandown on Saturday, in which the 6yo never seemed to handle. He was held up at the back of the field by Richard Johnson, and was never on terms with the leaders - eventually finishing a remote third to Paul Nicholls' Dynamite Dollars.

The trainer said the right-handed track along with the testing conditions did not suit her stable star - who was sent off odds-on in the Grade One contest, and will need quicker ground ahead of the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.

Lalor was an impressive winner at the Festival venue on his debut over fences last month, beating Dollars in a Grade Two Arkle Trial, form that has since been reversed.

(Credit: Racing Post) Woollacott said: "He has come back looking perfect and is absolutely fine. 

"Richard [Johnson] said he hated the ground - It was very soft there and taking him was a bit of a gamble, we ran him because he won on soft at Aintree but he did hate it at Newbury in February.

"He is much better on better ground and it was just too deep for that grade of race. He coped okay with it at Aintree but it was not riding too bad that day. He seems to be wanting much better ground as he has looked electric on good ground," she said.

As a result of Lalor's poor display, he has eased out to a rough 7/1 chance, pushing Kalashnikov back to the summit of the market. Amy Murphy's Supreme runner-up is now no bigger than 7/2, with Mengli Khan for Ireland, next best at 6/1.

The Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster at the end of January, could be the next port of call for Lalor en route to the Grade One Novice Chase on the first day of the Festival, in the hope of getting his future plans back on track.