Fakir D’Oudairies became the sixth horse to win the Marsh Chase (2m 3f 200y) twice today when repeating his 2021 success in the Grade One contest.
Returned the 10-11 Favourite, the seven year old scored impressively by five and a half lengths from Hitman for owner J P McManus, trainer Joseph O’Brien and jockey Mark Walsh.
Winning trainer Joseph O’Brien said of Fakir D’Oudairies: “Mark gave him a fantastic ride and I’m delighted for ‘JP’ and all of the team. He’s a really good horse and he’s been a really good servant to the yard for a number of years.
“He turns up and runs his race every day. He’s a good jumper and he makes my life very easy. He’s a special horse.
“He missed the last past the stand with a circuit to go but other than that he jumped well and Mark had him in the perfect spot throughout. There was a moment when I thought the horse on his outside (Hitman) was going well, but we got good jumps at the last two and that sealed it for us.”
Asked about trying three miles again, O’Brien added: “We’ll take it race by race but he looks pretty good at two and a half miles, and when there’s a suitable opportunity at that grade and at that trip we’ll let him take his chance, but I wouldn't rule out changing things again.
“It’s very special to come to these big meetings, whatever code they are under, and to be able to have nice horses who run well in the good races, so long may it last.”
In a separate interview he added: “I think that was as good a performance as any. This was a deeper race than last year and I was surprised he was such a short price.
“We’ll see about Punchestown, but he doesn’t owe us anything this year. We’ll take him home and then discuss it with JP and Frank (Berry, racing manager).”
Successful jockey Mark Walsh said: ”It was very straightforward, he jumped and travelled brilliant and he won easy. He just loves jumping and going that sort of gallop, so it was great.”
Paul Nicholls, trainer of runner-up Hitman, said: “I’m thrilled with him. I’ve always thought he was a decent horse, and I said to the lads, the best thing today was that he looked like he might finish third - he got a bit tired - and he stayed on strong. He’s only six and next year when we step up in trip, he’ll end up going forward again. He could go to Sandown, he could go to Punchestown, even. He hasn’t done a lot so he’ll definitely have one more run.”
Lorcan Williams, jockey of second placed Hitman, said: “He is still a work in progress. Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon weren’t doing what he was doing at his age. We are going to get his wind done in the summer then step him up in trip and he will win some really good races.
“He will come out of that feeling well and being pleased with himself. He is running good races at this level but he will be winning them next season.”
Alan King said of third placed Sceau Royal: “I’m delighted with him and I think he has got the trip alright. He has travelled away beautifully.
“We will probably bring him back for those hurdle races at Kempton Park and Wincanton but I’m thrilled with him today. He is a little superstar. The winner is a hand bigger than him and he is a beautiful horse.
“He never lets me down. He has had a lot of good horses behind him. He is not so good over fences right-handed. It (Celebration Chase) is a lot of money but I will speak to Anthony Bromley (racing manager to owners Isaac Souede and Simon Munir) but he disappointed in that a bit last year as he lost a bit of ground over the fences there but I’ll see what the boys want to do. It would be Sandown or nowhere.”