Fergal O’Brien’s classy mare Cap Soleil is likely to contest the Trull House Stud Mares Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March with connections keen to give the five-year-old daughter of Kapgarde a break before The Festival.
A talented bumper performer, Cap Soleil won all three of her starts in bumper company, culminating with an impressive half-length success in a Listed mares bumper at Sandown.
A facile seven-length winner of her first start over hurdles at Newbury, O’Brien’s charge was subsequently turned over at odds of 2/5 in a Listed event at the same track in December by Richard Hobson’s Dame Rose, with Cap Soleil reportedly suffering from cuts and bruises during the race.
However, the French-bred mare returned to the winners enclosure on her next start with a tenacious victory at at Haydock by a neck, beating Angels Antics, who subsequently disappointed at Sandown next time out.
After such a hard race, O’Brien is keen to give the mare plenty of time to get over her Haydock exertions with the Cheltenham Festival the next aim. O’Brien said:
Cap Soleil will be given an entry in the David Nicholson (Mares’ Hurdle) on the first day, but the mares’ novice is the race we are aiming for. She has only just turned five and she has had three hard runs. She won at Newbury, then got beat at Newbury and she had to dig deep the last day at Haydock.
It is lovely to see a mare with ability and a good attitude as well. She has got it all and we will look after her. I think she will want two and a half to three miles in time.