Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Preview - Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle

14:05 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle- 2 miles 5 furlongs
Prize Money £100,000

Previously known as the Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle and the Ballymore Properties Hurdle, the Neptune Investments Novices Hurdle is a Grade 1 hurdle run over two miles and five furlongs. It is open to novices aged four years old and upwards. Past winners have included, Danoli, Monsignor, Mikael D'Haguenet in 2009 as well as future Champion Hurdle winners Hardy Eustace and the mighty Istabraq.

Being a novice event, the race favours 6 year olds; in fact just 1 winner from over 100 runners since 1974 was aged older than 6 and 7 out of the last 10 winners were 6 years of age. The current favourite for the race is the Dermot Weld-trained Rite Of Passage. Certainly at face value, the son of Giant's Causeway is indeed a worthy one, he was an almost unbackable 5-2 favourite when third in last year’s Champion Bumper to Dunguib.

This season, Rite of Passage proved his ability when slamming the useful Donnas Palm by 8 lengths in the November Handicap and then beat the useful (and subsequent winner) Grey Soldier in a maiden hurdle in January by 3 lengths (it was a significant 14 lengths back to the third horse).

Willie Mullins who saddled the 2008 and 2009 winners of this race has entered the French-bred Quel Esprit. This gelding was Mullins chief bumper horse last year and was 2 lengths behind Rite of Passage in the Champion Bumper. He quickly won a bumper last April before winning two hurdle races over 2 miles 4 furlongs and 3 miles respectively. Although he was beaten ½ a length at odds of 3/10 in a grade 2 hurdle in January at Leopardstown, any cut in the ground will suit him and this Mullins horse cannot be ignored.

The Irish-Bred Finian’s Rainbow who is trained by Nicky Henderson represents the strongest English challenge; he won his bumper by 6 lengths and his maiden hurdle by 15. He was third to Reve de Sivola the Grade 1 Challow Novices Hurdle in Newbury in December and has since been put away for this race. Interestingly, Reve de Sivola, who was sixth in last years Triumph Hurdle is a bigger price for the race than Finian’s Rainbow (12/1 versus 10/1)

Rite of Passage, at current odds of 7-2, is on the short side for the race but favourites have been successful in 13 of the 37 runnings (a strike rate of 35%) and the horse has talent in abundance and should take all the beating. He ticks all the right boxes, he is a 6 year old, progressive; he jumps smartly from what we have seen of his one start over hurdles and he has swerved the Supreme Novices hurdle in favour of this race, whether that is to avoid Dunguib or to run over the longer distance remains to be seen but he is tipped to be the fourth successful Irish winner in this race over the past five years.

Race facts
• 22 of the last 24 winners started in the first 6 in the betting.
• Ruby Walsh has taken two race wins during the past five years
• 25 of the last 26 winners won or came 2nd on their most recent start.
• Over 80% of recent winners finished placed in their last event prior to contesting this race

Tip: Rite of Passage (pictured below)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Onefortheroadtom a solid each way option

Onefortheroadtom a solid each way option By Stephen Dwyer Onefortheroadtom, pictured above after being sold last year at ...