Champion Novice Hurdle Guide

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Trainer - Oliver McKiernan

Jockey - Sean Flanagan

Finished as the runner-up in all five of the bumpers he raced in, and arrives here a very inexperienced hurdler.

He won his maiden at Naas back in February before finishing fourth of six behind Mister Blue Sky in a Grade Two at Fairyhouse - form that has since been wiped out by Klassical Dream.

This race may just come a little too early for him; has at least a stone to find on ratings, which leaves him with big ask to win this.



T - Gordon Elliott

J - Jack Kennedy

Smart son of Doyen looks to bounce back after pulling up disappointedly at Cheltenham in the Ballymore.

Was caught badly outpaced on the back straight under this jockey, and could never land a blow to the front-runners.

Prior to that, was a perfect three out of three since winning a point back in April 2017 - striking in a bumper at this venue in November, winning a maiden hurdle before a first time Grade One at Naas in January.

Exciting prospect potentially over fences, but must improve here first.


T - Martin Brassil

J - Mark Walsh

Classy winner of the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham, making it five wins from five since finishing second in a bumper at this meeting twelve months ago.

The form of the race has been boosted with Champ's win at Aintree, and he really pulled away in style at Prestbury Park under this jockey who knows him so well.

Will look to track the leaders once again, and play his hand late. Classy individual who will take all the beating.


T - Willie Mullins

J - Danny Mullins

Following his smart success in his maiden, Come To Me has failed to kick on with his career and does not appear to be all that.

He was last to finish behind Battleoverdoyen in a Grade One at Naas before he was pulled up behind Commander Of Fleet in similar company at Leopardstown when jumping and racing awkwardly.

Masses of improvement is needed here, and hard to see if he has really progressed at all this term.


T - Henry De Bromhead

J - Rachael Blackmore

Form figures prove his progression, finishing third on debut in a maiden, second at Leopardstown in March by a nose before finally prevailing in a Grade Two last time out at Fairyhouse.

He beat a horse of Emmet Mullins' called Zero Ten who was successful earlier in the week at this meeting, and Castlebawn West who ran with great credit in Grade One company before fading late in the three-mile novice hurdle final.

Really useful form going into this, and Rachael Blackmore must be sniffing at the bit to notch up another big race winner.


T - Willie Mullins

J - David Mullins

Easy Game comes here off the back of his third to Dommage Pour Toi in a Grade Two at Fairyhouse early last month.

He was a never-nearer eighth in the Ballymore at Cheltenham after an early mistake and was eased by Ruby Walsh when he realised the task was impossible.

Prior to that, the five-year-old had some useful Irish form to his name, winning both of his prep runs before and after Christmas at Navan stylishly.

Certainly should not be discounted from producing a big effort.


T - Oliver McKiernan

J - Barry Browne

Oliver McKiernan looks brave, and sends another outsider to post in the shape of Gallant John Joe, who is another who looks completely out of his comfort zone.

He was seventh in that Grade Two at Fairyhouse not too long ago, and was a much shorter price than he is today thanks to his win in Listed company over Mister Blue Sky, who was dispatched here comfortably the other day.

Third to Commander Of Fleet at Leopardstown reads well, but more needed here over a slightly shorter trip.


T - Colin Tizzard

J - Robbie Power

The British challengers are headed by Reserve Tank, who after emerging late to the scene with wins in novice events at Kempton and Sandown, took the Grade One Mersey Novices Hurdle at Aintree.

He separated himself from the rest of the field after the last and drew away in the style of a great horse, beating Brewin'upastorm who holds good form with City Island.

The five-year-old has come along way in the short space of time, and must be considered a serious threat to all.


T - Willie Mullins

J - Paul Townend

Makes belated return with another summer campaign in mind, after winning his maiden at Galway in October.

Won a few bumpers on route to his one and only hurdles start under rules at Tipperary and Downpatrick, and does have proven stamina by winning a point a couple of years ago on this type of surface.

A very novice-novice hurdle, this might be a steep climb but if he is good enough he should be able to compete despite coming back from a break.


T - M F Morris

J - Davy Russell

Unfortunate second to Battleoverdoyen at Naas in January, before a decent fifth in the Ballymore at Cheltenham.

In the Irish contest, the gap came for the son of Doyen earlier than it did for this five-year-old, yet he still managed to battle onto second despite a few blunders.

At Cheltenham latest, he ran on with great credit despite being under pressure from a long way out.

Got to have a reasonable shout for place claims minimum.


T - Willie Mullins

J -

Excellent third in the Champion Bumper last year, before winning the Grade One Bumper here at this meeting twelve months ago.

Won his maiden at Punchestown in December under the now-retired Ruby Walsh, but was pulled up in January in a Grade One at Naas mysteriously; where he was always being niggled at from an early stage indicating a problem.

Must improve big time.


T - Willie Mullins

J - Jonathan Burke

Won Grade Two Mares Novice final at the Cheltenham Festival, before finishing third behind Honeysuckle at Fairyhouse in the past couple of weeks.

Still do not know her whole profile given she won her Festival outing at odds of 50/1, and she is priced at 25/1 for this.

Very nice price for those looking for an outsider, but has been ditched by Mullins' best jockeys.


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