Supasundae was 13l too strong for SILVER CONCORDE on bad ground at Leopardstown, but the latter could get closer if conditions are quicker today.
I was fortunate to speak to Pat Smullen at the races recently and his yard are very optimistic of a bold showing on better ground than he encountered last time.
He holds Sizing John courtesy of beating him three times in a year, including in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago, but that line of form could be the key to the race so Henry de Bromhead’s charge could be the one to follow him home.
Vaniteux was beaten 28l in last year’s Champion Hurdle but has won two of his three starts over fences. He has claims even if he has so far looked happier on a flat track.
In contrast, Holywell’s festival record reads 114, figures which include a win in this race two years ago and a fine 4th to Coneygree in the Gold Cup last term. He is a better horse in the spring on decent ground so expect him to leave behind some modest runs.
UN TEMPS POUR TOUT has proved a shade disappointing over fences, but this is his handicap debut and his stable is excellent at this meeting with his type. He has faced a couple of stiff tasks this season and may well appreciate the drop in class, likely strong pace and better ground.
The Young Master and Carole’s Destrier represent last year’s winning stable and have claims. The former had his rating protected by running over hurdles last time, while Carole’s Destrier was beaten 7l in the novice handicap last year and looks a better horse stepped up in trip this term.
This is not a lucky race for Paul Nicholls whose record is 0-18, but Southfield Theatre is reported in rude health having started to fire again after an injury sustained in the RSA Chase last year.
He beat Identity Thief 2l at Leopardstown over Christmas, a month after the latter had edged out Top Notch in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. However, it may be time for an old favourite in
THE NEW ONE to finally achieve his day of destiny and puncture the hopes of the all-conquering battalions from across the water.
The New One has exhibited frailties in the past and it is well documented he is prone to jump to his right when it matters most. However, his handler is adamant the eight-year-old is in the best form he has been in for two years since finishing an unlucky third in the 2014 running of this race and the drying ground will play to his strengths.
The bad feet and back problems which beset him last season are niggles of the past and, even with those ailments, it’s worth noting he was only beaten eight lengths by Faugheen a year ago. His Prestbury Park record over hurdles stands at an impressive 1211315 and the only time he has finished out of the frame was in last year’s Champion when not at his best.
In all honesty, she hasn’t beaten a great deal as yet, but the manner of her victories are hard to knock.
She is priced accordingly though and, given that POLLY PEACHUM was touched off in this event 12 months ago, she looks a fair each-way alternative, even if she would have been beaten comfortably if Annie Power had jumped the last hurdle. Bitofapuzzle was 3rd that day (Pass The Time 6th) and enters calculations again, while The Govaness is 2-5 at the track and, although beaten 13l by Vroum Vroum Mag at Ascot, the drop back in trip will suit.