CONEY ISLAND(best price 2/1)
has run with great credit on both his starts to date and easily has enough quality to take a race of this nature based on those performances. Edward Harty’s charge opened his account with a promising display behind two nice sorts at Naas and followed that up with an altogether more polished display in an above-average affair at Navan last time out. Staying on strongly in the latter stages of a well-run maiden hurdle, the son of Flemensfirth just couldn’t quite reel back the more prominently-ridden Woodland Opera, but as the winner is seen as a potential graded performer by connections (entered in Grade 1 Paddy Power Novices Hurdle on Sunday), it just goes to show what he was up against that afternoon. Although he faces one or two nice types in their own right in this contest, none of them can match the form the selection has already in the book.
Coney Island - 1pt @ 2/1Won 2pts
Although Chookie Royale will be a popular choice and rates the one to beat, he faces no easy task from his outside post and preference is for HORSTED KEYNES(best price 6/1)
returning to the scene of two of his best all-weather performances. David Simcock’s charge intimated he’s ready to strike in due course when chasing home Kempton specialist Lancelot Du Lac at the Surrey venue last time out and as Chookie Royale was back in fourth, he has to rate the each-way percentage call at the respective prices.
Horsted Keynes - 1pt e/w @ 6/1Lost 2pts
In what should turn out to be one of the spectacles of the entire Christmas period, TTEBBOB(best price 4/1)
is the value bet to topple hot-pot Douvan and two other potentially top-class novice chasers in this mouth-watering Grade 1 affair. Although Jessica Harrington’s charge did have some smart form over hurdles, he’s looked a completely different beast since tackling fences, jumping with the sure-footedness and panache of a chaser way beyond his years. Despite being aided and abetted by the first fence departure of Moyle Park, the son of Milan couldn’t have been any more impressive on debut at Thurles and even though he only faced two rivals on his latest start at Navan, the way he operated over his fences and galloped the pair into the ground was a sight to behold. Moreover, the time figures of both performances indicate he’s already been running to the standard of Championship level and with the likelihood of Robbie Power setting fairly strong fractions from the outset, the six-year-old will be taking his three rivals into areas they’ve yet to visit over fences so far to date.
Ttebbob - 1pt @ 4/1Lost 1pt
MATORICA(best price 8/1)
lost nothing in defeat last time out and with his conqueror, Duke Des Champs, going on to boost the form at Ascot next time, Jonjo O’Neill’s charge makes plenty of appeal on his handicap debut. Travelling well in the slipstream of Philip Hobbs’ charge at Market Rasen that day, the son of Mastercraftsman just couldn’t quite get by the bigger, more imposing model of the winner in the closing stages, but as the time of the race suggested, the form is worth following. Although he’s unproven beyond 2m 2f, he shapes as though he’s well worth a try over this trip and given that he travels well through his races, that high cruising speed should at least give him the opportunity to get to the business end of the race with a bit of energy left in the tank.
Matorica - 1pt e/w @ 8/1Lost 2pts
The form figures of BOLLIN ACE(best price 4/1)
suggests only those with deep pockets would find him an attractive betting proposition, but a closing look into his performances lean towards Tim Easterby’s charge be given another chance in this sort of company. His latest effort when third behind the useful Alibi De Sivola at Carlisle produced his best set of speed figures, so armed with that knowledge, the son of Bollin Eric rates a first-class wager for the bet-to-nothing vultures.
Bollin Ace - 1pt e/w @ 4/1Lost 2pts
DON'T TOUCH IT(best price 7/2)
has the misfortune to bump into an above-average performer in the shape of Stone Hard on hurdling debut and although he faces what could turn out to be similar calibre opponents here, the valuable experience he gained that day might just tip the balance in his favour. A winner of bumper on his previous start, Jessica Harrington’s charge impressed by the way he kept on well for pressure in that latter stages of that Gowran Park heat and being an honest sort that always run his race, makes him a tempting proposition for those looking to include such types for each-way multiple bets.
Dont Touch It - 1pt @ 7/2Lost 1pt
Willie Mullins has an embarrassment of riches in the novice hurdle department, so it has to be significant that the master trainer brings over OPEN EAGLE(best price 8/1)
to represent the Muine Beag stable off the back of a victory in what seemingly appeared just an ordinary maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse last time out. The style in which he achieved the success and the time he accomplished, however, suggested he could easily make up into a graded performer and having already proven his worth under testing conditions, further deterioration of the ground will play into his strengths more than most.
Additional 0.5 e/way trixie:
OPEN EAGLE 7/2
BOLLIN ACE 4/1
DON’T TOUCH IT 7/2
Open Eagle - 1pt @ 7/2Lost 1pt