Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Thursday; Prince Of Pirates (12.40 Donc) and Hidden Cyclone (12.55 Leop). Compare odds.
Sadly there’s no Hurricane Fly in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle this afternoon, but the Grade 1 contest still lights up another tremendous card at Leopardstown on day four of their Christmas meeting.
The Ballymaloe Country Relish Beginners’ Chase is another cracking contest, with Shot From The Hip and Hidden Cyclone (12:55) going head to head in what could be a very informative event.
The former will be better served by today’s decent surface, though he was beaten over this trip on his seasonal debut last year and preference is for Hidden Cyclone, despite the fact he’ll want further and softer ground to be seen at his best.
Shark Hanlon’s six-year-old did win his bumper on good ground, however, and his class can see him home on this chasing debut, as the son of Stowaway has always had the look of a potential high-class chaser.
The selection was trading at Evens (Paddy Power) on Wednesday evening, but I expect there will be some odds against available this morning as this is no penalty kick.
Over at Doncaster Prince Of Pirates (12:40) is certainly one who relishes a decent surface and Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old is another chasing debutant to back.
The son of Milan has clearly been difficult to train, as he’s only been seen three times since beating stable-mate Bobs Worth in a Kempton bumper almost two years ago.
On his hurdling debut at Cheltenham last December, he ran out a comfortable winner after Al Ferof crashed out at the penultimate flight, but he failed to land a gamble at Punchestown when last seen in May.
Heavily backed, the selection was way too keen and finished only midfield in the AON Hurdle. He was entered over hurdles recently, on what looked a very attractive handicap mark, so the fact that connections are not exploiting that rating and instead go straight over fences, indicates he has jumped well at home.
A winner first time out each season, this could be the time to catch him and it is hoped that Habbie Simpson (rated higher than Prince Of Pirates over hurdles) makes the market for Tony McCoy’s mount.
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- AL FEROF won Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 10-1
- BENSALEM won Stewart Family Handicap 5-1
- BOBS WORTH won A Bartlett 15-8, 4/4 for year
- CAPTAIN CHRIS won Arkle Trophy 6-1
- FIRST LIEUTENANT won Neptune Investment 7-1
- (plus Grade 1 in Ireland 16-1)
- JAMES DE VASSY won Lanzarote Hurdle 8-1
- LONG RUN won King George 9-2, Gold Cup 7-2
- OSCAR WHISKY won Aintree Hurdle 6-1
- Peddlers Cross (Fighting Fifth Hurdle)
- Medermit (Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase)
- FINIAN’S RAINBOW (Maghull Novices’ Chase)
- WISHFULL THINKING (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)