Osborne to keep Steel link : RACING

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The Independent Online
Flashing Steel trailed in last of three finishers at Navan yesterday, yet major bookmakers kept the nine-year-old's odds for the Cheltenham Gold Cup unchanged at 14-1.

The John Mulhern-trained chaser, a 2-1 favourite in a six-horse line-up, was more than six lengths behind the winner, Bart Owen, and a neck behind second-placed River Tarquin. Opera Hat fell when very much in contention two fences out.

Flashing Steel nevertheless pleased both Mulhern and rider Jamie Osborne on what was his seasonal debut, burdened with 12 stone in heavy ground. Osborne commented: "I was happy with the way he carried me until he got tired at the third last. He needed t h at run." Mulhern described the ground as "atrocious," adding: "He jumped well and in the circumstances I am delighted with the way he ran. He should be right now for the Ericsson Chase at Leopardstown on 28 December.''

Osborne confirmed that he would be travelling to Leopardstown to renew his association with Flashing Steel, on whom he was fourth to The Fellow in the Gold Cup last March.