What Did We Learn At Leopardstown?

February 4th, 2018 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

For once the accolades that have come the way of Samcro seem justified following a hugely impressive victory in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown this afternoon.

Despite dropping half-a-mile in trip down to two miles he had no trouble settling up with the pace before moving into the lead on the bridle approaching the last. The six-year-old then quickened away to pull clear of his rivals without being asked a question to beat Duc Des Genievres by five and a half lengths, with Paloma Blue back in third.

Samcro’s target will probably be the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, for which he is a top priced of 8/11 NRNB or evens without that concession. He is 6/4 NRNB for the Supreme or 5/1 without the concession.

His main rival in the Ballymore, at this stage, is On The Blind Side but Samcro already has the look of one of the Irish bankers and, in all truth, he is hard to fault.

I was especially pleased to see Supasundae win the Irish Champion Hurdle. As the race drew closer I felt he had a good chance of going well, especially when the ground was clearly not going to be a testing as was anticipated earlier in the week.

It was a relief to learn afterwards that the Stayers’ Hurdle is still the plan. My only concern is that the horse possibly had a harder race than connections were expecting, but he is very tough and the steadier pace over the longer trip at Cheltenham will play to his strengths.

Supasundae is now a top price of 7/2, just ahead of Sam Spinner at 9/2. The New One is a little on the long side at 14/1 in what promises to be a decent renewal of the race.

I am still struggling to reach a view on the Gold Cup.

The Irish Gold Cup shed little light on the race following the victory of Edwulf. Killultagh Vic would probably have won but for his last-fence mishap while Our Duke ran better until making a mistake approaching the final turn.

Jessica Harrington says Sizing John will be going directly to Cheltenham while we still need to see Native River back in action. He is, for me, the one to note at 10/1 despite concerns about the wellbeing of Colin Tizzard’s horses in recent weeks.

Footpad is now down to 4/5 NRNB for the Arkle following his five-lengths’ defeat of Petit Mouchoir on Saturday. His sound jumping will stand him in good stead around Cheltenham although we must not underestimate Sceau Royal or North Hill Harvey. This promises to be a good renewal.

Altior is holding steady at a top price of evens NRNB for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Min did his prospects no harm with a fine victory on Saturday while we await further news of Douvan. Waiting Patiently will run in the Ryanair Chase provided the ground has sufficient juice in it.

As for the Champion Hurdle you cannot judge the bookmakers harshly for pricing up Buveur D’Air as short as 2/5 NRNB. Faugheen ran better on Saturday than he had over Christmas but he is still running as if something is bothering him. Rich Ricci suggested that the horse could return to his best with the spring weather but you can get 6/1 NRNB hat he beats the favourite.

My Tent Or Yours, who has such a fine record at the Festival, has to be the each-way value at 12/1 NRNB.

Bye for now