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Dublin: 5°C Friday 5 March 2021

Shock Cheltenham winner Labaik refused to start another race today

That’s the third time in four races for the Supreme Novice Hurdle winner.

Labaik under jockey Jack Kennedy plays catch up after failing to start Labaik and Jack Kennedy start the Champion Novice Hurdle long after the rest of the field have taken off. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

SUPREME NOVICE WINNER Labaik must surely be one of the most enigmatic, and frustrating, horses in training right now.

The six-year-old went to Cheltenham last month having point-blank refused to race in two of his previous three outings, and eventually starting the other so far behind the rest of the field that he finished a massive 100 lengths behind the winner.

Then he turned up on the opening day of the festival and romped home to win the Supreme at massive odds of 25/1 for Gordon Elliot in the hands of Jack Kennedy, having been available at 50/1 earlier that morning.

Plans to sell him at the Aintree Festival earlier this month were shelved and instead, he was redirected to Punchestown today where he was sent off a well-supported 5/2 second favourite for the Champion Novice Hurdle.

But when the starter raised the white flag, once again, Labaik decided that he didn’t want to jump off with the rest of the field.

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He did eventually start, meaning he avoids an official ‘refusal’ on his record, but trotted up long after winner Cilaos Emery had passed the finishing post.

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Niall Kelly

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