2.10 County Hurdle
Alan Fleming’s gelding beat three subsequent winners at Fairyhouse in November including Wednesday’s Coral Cup hero, Diamond King. Although that victory was seriously impressive, it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by the handicapper and he now runs off a 22lb higher mark which looks a bit harsh to me and at his current price I’m not all that mad about him. At a massive price, I’d give an EW squeak to Ivan Grozny, who should enjoy the return to better ground and will certainly like the helter-skelter pace he’s guaranteed to get here.
This son of Turtle Bowl isn’t devoid of class, having finished 3rd in a Group 3 on the flat in France. He was sent off favourite for a Grade One Juvenile at Leopardstown in Jan ’14 before going off as short as 7/1 for the Fred Winter. He beat the very useful Kitten Rock in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse and had been off the track for almost two years when he made his reappearance in the Coral.ie Hurdle at Leopardstown in January. There’s no doubt he’ll have to improve dramatically on what he has shown this season, but I do think he’s feasibly treated off 143 if finding his old form and at around 50/1 you won’t have to pay much to find out.
Of the others, I think Modus has a great chance as he’s well handicapped and has been waiting all season for good ground. He ran a cracker in the bumper last year so we know he goes on the track and the pace they go in this race should also help him settle.
2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
I’ve no doubt that, despite looking a like a bit of an eejit on occasions, this horse is highly intelligent and I’m pretty confident we haven’t even scraped the surface of his ability yet. When you look through the formbook at what he has beaten, it’s hard not to step-back and ask how is this horse as big as 5/1 in a place? We saw on Thursday what the power of a negative comment can do when Vautour was available to back at 11/10 and look at what he did to the Ryanair field. Have faith in Barters, he won’t let you down.
3.30 Gold Cup
4.10 Foxhunter Chase
4.50 Martin Pipe Conditionals Hurdle