The Elusive Chase of Marine Nationale Awaits a Drier Stage
Barry Connell’s unbeaten six-year-old marvel, Marine Nationale, might have to postpone his chasing debut due to the incessant rain and challenging track conditions. With five victories under his belt, including an impressive win against Facile Vega at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle during the Cheltenham Festival last March, this horse is one to watch.
Originally planned for a beginners chase at Navan next weekend as a starting point in his transition towards larger obstacles, Connell now finds himself reconsidering this decision. In light of the current ground conditions at Navan and Marine Nationale’s preference for drier terrain, waiting until Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival seems like a more sensible option.
“I won’t subject him to such unfavorable ground conditions,” said Connell during Sunday’s press conference held at Naas racecourse.
The delicately built horse requires specific ground conditions that would allow him to perform optimally without straining himself in arduous races early in the season. Today’s heavy ground would make it challenging for Marine Nationale; consequently delaying his eagerly anticipated comeback.
This strategic delay does not greatly concern Barry Connell as he recalls how Marine Nationale embarked on an impressive journey last year with only two prior runs before competing triumphantly at the Cheltenham Festival. The plan is to aim for Leopardstown’s two-mile and one-furlong beginners chase, followed by appearances at the Dublin Racing Festival and ultimately Cheltenham.