Annoyingly for punters, Thursday’s Christmas Hurdle gave us little clue to which horse is currently top of the tree for the Champion Hurdle after My Tent Or Yours edged out The New One, who may have won if not completely missing the last flight. Hopefully, today’s Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown will start to stack up the Irish hurdlers into some sort of ranking.
Heading up the market is two-time Cheltenham Festival hero Hurricane Fly, who is also unbeaten at Leopardstown. Some will see his 6/5 odds as an absolute lump on job but up against two progressive young horses today, he is very vulnerable and is a clear lay at short prices.
Willie Mullins’ superstar was worryingly below par in his seasonal reappearance, jumping with little zip and failing to see off an ordinary bunch of rivals in the style we’ve become accustomed to seeing.
Of course, Mullins has come out and said he’s expecting a huge amount of improvement from the horse today but we just feel age has finally caught up with the nine-year-old and the Our Conor and Jezki have the guns to shoot him down.
Of his two rivals today, the bet simply has to be Jezki at 3/1, who has been very popular with punters this morning after widely being available at 7/2 when the market opened.
Our Conor was arguably one of the most impressive Cheltenham Festival winners of all time when romping away with the Triumph Hurdle, however, his preparation hasn’t been smooth this season and relying on a race like the Triumph, where inexperienced horses can run well below par, isn’t a tactic we would want to invest in, no matter how superior Dessie Hughes’ horse was on the day.
You know what you’re going to get with Jezki, who will be ridden by AP McCoy. His run in the Supreme Novices Hurdle last season was a cracker considering nothing really went right for him that day.
Jessica Harrington’s speedy customer pulled too hard early, was bumped around on the turn and smashed the last hurdle but still was only beaten less than three lengths behind the classy pair of My Tent Or Yours and Champagne Fever.
His two wins this season haven’t been visually impressive but he showed tremendous racing courage to win the Grade One Hatton Grace Hurdle (beat Zaidpour who franked the form yesterday) after completely fluffing the last hurdle. He’s the bet today with a recommended two point win stake.
Profit and Loss Record Staked: 121pts Returned: 123.84pts P/L: +2.84pts
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