Irving joint-favourite for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after Ascot win
Irving produced a stunning display at Ascot to leap to the head of the ante-post market for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. The formerly useful flat performer in Germany lined up for the Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle on Friday alongside the Nicky Henderson-trained favourite Volnay De Thaix.
Nick Scholfield rode a confident race on the five-year-old and had pulled clear along with Prince Siegfried when that horse crashed out at the final flight. Volnay De Thaix rallied to take second, some six lengths adrift of the impressive winner.
Irving now shares favouritism for the opening race of the festival meeting with David Pipe’s The Liquidator at 12-1. Trainer Paul Nicholls is likely to run him in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown before giving him a break ahead of the festival.
At Fishers Cross has drifted out to 14-1 for the World Hurdle after another disappointing run. Having all but fallen on his seasonal debut at Newbury, his hurdling was again at fault as he unshipped Tony McCoy at the last in the Long Walk Hurdle.
His chance had gone at the time and it was left for Reve De Sivola to claim the prize for the second successive season. He is also a 14-1 shot whilst four-time winner Big Buck’s is now 9-4 favourite after successfully coming through a racecourse gallop this week.
Well Refreshed continues to attract support for the Coral Welsh National and is now 8-1 joint-favourite with Goonyella for the Chepstow marathon. An impressive winner of the Haydock Grand National Trial last season, Gary Moore’s gelding caught the eye when finishing third at Sandown recently.
On a sad note, one horse that will not be at Chepstow is Silver By Nature who suffered a fatal injury whilst preparing for the race. The popular grey was second in 2009 and also won two Grand National trials for Lucinda Russell.
Punters are in for some thrilling racing at Kempton’s King George meeting over Christmas. The New One and My Tent Or Yours are set to clash in the Christmas Hurdle whilst Sprinter Sacre could well meet Sire De Grugy in the Desert Orchid Chase.