Cheltenham winner Labaik heading to the sales ring

Cheltenham winner Labaik heading to the sales ring

Labaik clears the final flight in the Supreme

By Barry McEneaney

RTÉ Sport journalist

Cheltenham Festival winner Labaik is set to be offered for sale at Aintree’s upcoming Grand National meeting.

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Gordon Elliott’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hero will go under the hammer as Lot 6 at the Goffs UK Aintree Sale next Thursday after racing.

Labaik caused a 25-1 shock in the Cheltenham curtain-raiser when he put his 13 rivals to the sword, including the highly-touted Melon, who filled the runner-up berth behind Jack Kennedy’s mount.

A 16-1 shot for next season’s Champion Hurdle, Labaik’s ability could see him fetch a handsome some, but his temperament is likely to deter many potential bidders.

The grey has won all three of his last eight starts where he has consented to race, but on four of the five other occasions he has refused to race, while he was already hopelessly detached when he finally got going on his penultimate outing at Naas.

In the immediate aftermath of his Prestbury Park win, Elliott gave his own revealing insight into the mercurial Labaik, telling reporters: “He's got an engine. We haven't a horse to work with him in the yard; he's a machine of a horse. Where we will go from here I don't know. If he never jumps off again, it doesn't matter!"

For his future owners, jumping off will be of paramount inmportance.

The son of Montmatre cost €130,000 as a yearling but was subsequently picked up for just £25,000 at Doncaster last August after failing to win in nine starts on the Flat for John Hammond and Owen Burrows when he was campaigned in the famous blue and white silks of Hamdan Al Maktoum.

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