SCHIEHALLION MUNRO TO RUN AT THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL.
03 May 2013.
Owner-Tennant, Lynch, Sharpe And Boston.
Schiehallion Munro at nine years old should be now approaching the prime of his life as an athlete. He is very lightly raced, having only run on 19 occasions, and appears to progress with each race.His sire Schiaparelli was bred, and trained by the Godolphin operation, winning five Group 1 races, and placing in a further 10 Group 1, 2, and 3 events, from 11 furlongs, to just short of two miles. His dam is a daughter of Kayf Tara, and although having her career cut short at eight years old, did win over hurdles, and placed twice over fences. His dam is called Mrs Faulty, hence his stable name of 'Basil.'
Schiehallion Munro made his racecourse debut at Hexham in heavy ground in October 2017, in the hands of Mr Joe Wright claiming 7lb, he finished fourth in the bumper, beaten by 32 lengths, finding the ground far too testing on debut. He was given three months to recover, and sent to Sedgefield in January 2018, where he finished third, beaten by 14 lengths, which was progress.
After a further 10 months on the sidelines he returned at Wetherby in November, and showed his first signs of real ability on the track, when on his hurdles debut he finished second in good novice hurdle company under Joe Colliver, who would become his regular jockey. He showed that race to be no fluke when sent off at 5/4 favourite at Sedgefield on his next start in December, coming home comfortably with eight lengths to spare, this time with Billy Garritty riding.His one blemish (if you can call it one) came next time, again at Sedgefield, on Boxing Day, when finishing second after being sent off at 1/1 money favourite, he was found to have a temperature, and was rested until February 2019. On his return at Wetherby he showed us he was better than ever, when in receipt of 6lb he beat the 142 rated Coolanly by three quarters of a length, the handicapper could have gone to town, but thankfully saw fit to give him a mark of 127. Shiehallion Munro raced once more that season, making his handicap debut at Perth in April, when finishing a respectable third.
Shiehallion Munro made his novice chase debut at Catterick in November, over two miles and three furlongs, comfortably beating a good quality looking field by six lengths. He was sent to Doncaster in December under a penalty, but found the Dan Skelton trained Knight In Dubai had too much pace for him, but once Joe Colliver could see he wasn't going to win, he very wisely looked after the horse up the run in, but still finished a clear second. His next run was at Newcastle in January 2020, when he had to show guts to win by a neck, when dropped back to two miles, a trip which would prove to be on the short side for him.His final start before lock-down was back at Catterick 18 days later, when stepping up to an extended two miles and three furlongs, and running in his first handicap chase off a very generous looking mark of 131, he won easily by three and a half lengths.
Now as a fully fledged handicap chaser, and with a more realistic mark of 140, Schiehallion Munro made his seasonal debut in the prestigious Bobby Renton at Wetherby in October, he would have probably finished in the places if not for being hampered by a loose horse on the run in, but that run would have been needed.We saw the best yet from him, back at Wetherby a month later, when he finished second in Class 3 company, off a mark of 139, confirming that there is a big win in him somewhere down the line.His next run was a strange affair at Musselburgh on New Years Day 2021 over an extended two and a half miles, after leading early, he appeared not to be able to sustain the pace. and dropped back towards the rear, but as stamina came in to play he picked up well, to run on for a creditable second in that Class 2 event. At that stage of his career it appeared that he needed around two and a half miles, on a more stiffer track than Musselburgh. Schiehallion Munro was next seen at Kelso in March where once again he ran right up to his very best, but once again found one two good from a mark of 140. He would race on one more occasion that season when finishing out of the frame for only the third time in his career, but post race he was found to have scoped badly, and subsequently sent on his summer holidays.
Schiehallion Munro reappeared at Wetherby in November over his favoured trip of the extended two miles and three furlongs, with Conor O'Farrell in the saddle for the first time. He had just taken up the running, when falling at the second last, whether he would have won or not we will never know, but the run showed that he was at least as good as ever. He returned to Wetherby on Boxing Day, and this time he made no mistake by winning by three and a quarter lengths. He returned again to Wetherby in February 2022, and from a new high mark of 142, he once again won, this time by two lengths, with his BHA mark subsequently raised to 145, and giving him his seventh win from just 19 starts.
Schiehallion Munro has now earned the right to go for the prestigious 'Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase' at the Cheltenham Festival, on the Thursday of the meeting, a race which was originally known as the 'Mildmay of Flete,' and first run in 1951.
TO BE CONTINUED.
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