sport

Walsh: Arvika going right way

Ruby Walsh is keen to see Arvika Ligeonniere drop back in trip over Christmas after his effortless victory in the John Durkan Chase.

Apart from a fall in the Irish Arkle and a lifeless run at Cheltenham in March, the imposing eight-year-old has won all his six other starts over fences.

His task on Sunday was made much easier when stablemate Sir Des Champs fell early and speaking in his www.racinguk.com blog, Walsh also gave a clean bill of health to the Gold Cup runner-up.

"Sir Des Champs was fine on Monday morning and there is not a bother on him after his fall in the John Durkan - Davy Russell was a bit shaken up and he knew he had had the fall but he was OK," said Walsh.

"Arvika Ligeonniere, the winner, seems to be more comfortable going right-handed, but he jumps very straight. We didn't even know there was an issue with him until Leopardstown last year.

"We haven't had as much rain in Ireland as in England and although he goes in heavy, for a big horse he has a really good action and drying ground doesn't seem to bother him.

"The race was around eight seconds quicker than the novice chase won by Bright New Dawn so it wasn't a complete farce of a race.

"Arvika is not in the King George, but is in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown on the 27th and I'd be all for him going back in trip.

"He was fifth in an Albert Bartlett and he is a bit older now so perhaps he will get three miles, should Willie Mullins decide to step him up.

"He's going the right way to achieve big things."

Another stablemate booked for big things is the novice hurdler Faugheen, who notched up his second win over timber at Navan on Saturday.

"Faugheen was a bit clumsy at the third last but he did jump better than he did at Punchestown when winning at Navan," said Walsh.

"He has a really big engine, and has pace and stamina. He is a big horse, with a big future. He hasn't been extended yet and has earned himself a step up in grade now."