The Cheltenham fever is really starting to take hold, and I for one am really looking forward – it should be another spectacle!
There’s a decent card at Leopardstown today where the first race is due to get under way at 2:10. It’s an intriguing race as 4 of the 7 runner field are coming back from long layoffs.
Three of them are from the Willie Mullins yard. Aurko won two races in France but has not run for Willie Mullins and has been off the track for over 1100 days.
Diakali who was top class over hurdles at one point has been off the track for 584 days and stablemate Bonbob Au Miel has been off the track for over 890 days.
Ruby Walsh has surprisingly decided to side with the latter.
This horse won a race on the flat in France by 8l when last seen. Given that he hasn’t run for so long and has never jumped a hurdle in public I just couldn’t back him.
Hidden Cyclone is giving away a fair bit of weight to the field here but he’s fit and he’s been in top form.
He ran a great race in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth and also ran a cracker off a big weight in the Coral.ie hurdle.
Diakali would be his main danger if he retains any of his ability.
Gordon Elliott trainer of Tycoon Prince said that he may need this run and that next time may well be the time to catch him.
HIDDEN CYCLONE may go to Cheltenham for a handicap but I wouldn’t be surprised if he landed this en route.
The 2nd race on the card the 2:40 is a maiden hurdle but it is a hotly contested race. Youcannotbeserious and Harold Peto will have their chances but the one I like each way is POLITICAL THEATRE.
This horse was 9l behind Harold Peto last time out.
That was only his 2nd run though. He got put into the race late on and looked as if he was crying out for a step up in trip. He get’s the further distance he needs today and I think he will get much closer to the favourite Harold Peto.
He’s a decent price and a worthy each way bet.
The 3:10 a handicap hurdle looks a two horse race based on the form. Grand Partner and Joshua Lane finished first and 2nd last time out with Grand Partner getting the upper hand late on.
They were off level weights that day and there was 1l between them.
Joshua Lane is 2lb better off with that rival today though. He’s not exactly the most straightforward horse but he’s been putting some good runs together and he might just be about to turn the corner.
I think JOSHUA LANE can reverse the placings today and land this handicap hurdle for connections.
The 3:40 is the feature race on the card.
There are some decent novice chasers in the field and all of these are missing Cheltenham for this race. Don’t Touch It was a big fancy of ours for the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham but it goes here instead.
This horse is no slouch, he beat champion hurdle contenders, Petit Mouchoir, Yorkhill and Brain Power at the Punchestown festival in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at the backend of last season.
Has taken really well to fences this season and he won so easily last time out at Thurles. He never came off the bridle and coasted clear when barely asked.
Identity Thief is the main danger based on his hurdles form but it hasn’t taken to fences as well as connections would have liked. It hasn’t completed on it’s last two starts.
Don’t Touch It is a safer jumper and I believe he is also the better horse.
DONT TOUCH IT for me is the bet of the day.
The 4:40 doesn’t look like the greatest of races. Not many of these are consistent. Given the heavy ground I think OFF THE CHARTS could well outrun his odds of 14/1.
He’s got 2 wins from 3 runs on heavy ground. That’s the best of the runners in the field on this ground.
Most of never even placed on heavy ground let alone won. This horse used to be useful over hurdles but never really transferred that form to fences.
He’s off a low enough mark now (22lb lower than hurdles rating) that he could well return to form.
Not a great race to be getting stuck into. I recommend a small each way on this horse.
2:10 Hidden Cyclone 7/2
2:30 Political Theatre 10/1 each way
3:10 Joshua Lane 11/4
3:40 Dont Touch It 3/1
4:40 Off the Charts 14/1 each way