Former Champion hurdler Faugheen will face seven rivals in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday as the declarations were announced yesterday for Day one of the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival.
Faugheen is 4/1 with BetVictor to regain his crown at Cheltenham next month and 5/4 to get back to winning ways at the weekend – if he is back to anything like his brilliant best, he will win but that is a big if.
No surprise to see the going description as heavy at Chepstow for today’s card and on official ratings Rolling Dylan has an easy task in the novice chase despite carrying a 6lbs penalty but he has his quirks and he might be flattered by his official rating of 139.
The mare Surtee Du Berlais has not yet taken to fences but she would have every chance if she could improve her fencing but the form of Souriyan’s (1.40) second over C&D last time was given a boost when the winner (Another Venture) followed up at Hereford earlier in the week.
The selection hasn’t won over the larger obstacles and would be receiving an additional 9lbs from the favourite is this were a handicap but he can go close for the father-and-son combination of Peter and Sean Bowen. A market move for Step Back would be worth noting.
Rock My Style will jump a fence in time and looks sure to appreciate the step up to three miles for the first time in the 3m Novice Hurdle but he must give 10lbs including his jockey’s allowance to Bill And Barn (2.15) who reverts to timber having made a satisfactory chase debut when runner up at Wincanton last month. His future is over the larger obstacles but trainer Paul Nicholls’ obviously wants to preserve his novice status over fences for next season.
One Style (2.45) has not seen the track for 664 days and remains a maiden after 18 career starts but the handicapper has given his a chance in the two-and-a-half-mile chase. A French import the nine-year-old had bits of form in his both his native France and over timber for Venetia Williams, which would make him look very well handicapped at present. The market should tell us plenty about his wellbeing but he is a fascinating runner in a competitive heat.
The two teenagers Handsupfordetroit (13) and Paddy The Oscar (15) have leading chances in the 3m chase but Allchilledout is a horse I like and I was pleased to see Molineaux win the opener at Wincanton yesterday. It is possible that success is nothing more than a false dawn but the selection has had a wind operation since finishing third at Fontwell and can run from the same mark as when winning last January.
At Catterick in the Mares’ staying Chase Timon’s Tara steps up in trip having been just touched off over two-and-a-half miles at Uttoxeter on Saturday and she must go close.
I hope to see Milly Baloo (3.30) build on her Wetherby comeback, however, when she was just touched off by Sheneededtherun over Christmas and the latter reopposes this afternoon on 8lbs worse terms if you include jockey Ryan Day’s 3lb claim. The selection won over C&D from a 5lbs lower mark 12 months ago and she is entitled to improve for her recent belated seasonal reappearance.
Derryname (4.35) carries a 7lbs penalty for scoring at the last meeting here nine days ago and he is 6lbs “well-in” given he has been raised 13lbs for that fluent success.
At Lingield Lawless Secret drops back in trip and is likely to try to make all from stall one. Nicola Currie will have a difficult task trying to set the fractions and the vote goes to Dutch Uncle (4.15) who is well handicapped on his best form and is blinkered for the first time for Archie Watson and Eddie Greatrex who are a combination in excellent form.