Paul Ferguson fancies The Shepherd King to reward punters in the 3.20 at Leopardstown on Sunday afternoon. Horse Racing Oddschecker
The National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell aside, Sunday’s action looks rather average and for the day’s selection I’m heading over to Ireland and the www.leopardstown.com Handicap Hurdle.
Novice The Shepherd King (3:20) lacks experience and the ground is far from ideal, so he is only a tentative choice, but he looks worth taking a chance on after a massive drop in class.
The seven-year-old was a winner between the flags last April and impressively won a bumper at Listowel in September, where he travelled really strongly throughout.
He again moved stylishly when making a winning hurdles debut at Galway in October and the form of that race indicates he could be well handicapped here on a mark of 124.
Runner-up, Start Me Up, has won since and also ran well in better company, while third home, Frisco Depot, beat Shot From The Hip and Cottrelsbooley next time and both of those novices recently ran well in the Grade 1 Deloitte.
The Shepherd King was himself last sighted at the highest level when fourth to Zaidpour in the Royal Bond and it isn’t hard to imagine him travelling through this race very easily.
The ground is a concern, but his class could see him home here and he still holds entries in the Supreme Novices’, the County Hurdle and the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival.
3:20 Leopardstown: The Shepherd King
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase