Tuesday 17 September 2019

O'Brien: Sir Erec has favourite's chance

Trainer Joseph O'Brien. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Trainer Joseph O'Brien. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Joseph O'Brien believes Sir Erec has a "favourite's chance" as he targets his first 'official' JCB Triumph Hurdle - three years after supervising the success of Ivanovich Gorbatov in the same race.

His father Aidan's name went into the record books as trainer of the 2016 winner, but O'Brien Jnr was given credit for the preparation - and now has a major fancy in his own right in the four-year-old championship at Cheltenham today.

O'Brien, who scored his maiden Festival victory with Band Of Outlaws on Wednesday, inherited Sir Erec from his father after the Camelot colt's decent Flat career.

He has transferred his smart form to jumps, with promising wins in both of his starts.

After beating 27 rivals on his debut in a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, Sir Erec returned to the Dublin track to lift the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle by an easy six lengths in February.

A slight injury scare last week failed to dampen enthusiasm for the short-priced ante-post favourite.

"Obviously he has taken to hurdling well," said O'Brien.

"He ran a nice race first time and improved a good bit to his second run. He'll have to improve again, but we're hopeful he's capable of doing so.

"It's going to be a competitive race - and by far his biggest test so far - and he'll probably have to run a career-best to win it.

"We're very realistic in that sense, but we'd like to think he has a favourite's chance."

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