Sunday 18 February 2018

Ebadiyan set for Cheltenham

Ebadiyan, with John Cullen up,, just gets the better of Muirhead and Paul
Carberry gto win the Limestone Lad Hurdle
Ebadiyan, with John Cullen up,, just gets the better of Muirhead and Paul Carberry gto win the Limestone Lad Hurdle

Oliver Brady is dreaming of a fairytale trip to Cheltenham after Ebadiyan returned to form with a game victory at Naas yesterday.

The grey, who ducked out in last year's Triumph Hurdle, rallied well for jockey John Cullen to beat Muirhead by short head in the Limestone Lad Hurdle.

"I was a little worried about the ground coming here but I knew he'd have a big chance today as he scoped wrong after his last run, which was too bad to be true," said Monaghan-based Brady. "Ebadiyan has three options at Cheltenham and, while the World Hurdle and Coral Cup are possibilities, the Champion Hurdle is his probable target."

Muirhead trainer Noel Meade said: "He had every chance from the second last but I don't subscribe to the view that he failed to stay the trip. Maybe he just emptied a bit in the ground, or it could be the effect of a few hard races. He seems sound but we'll have him scoped."

Meade gained handsome compensation when Oscar Looby (4/1) took the Grade Two Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase to give Paul Carberry a winner after his suspension.

"Paul said the ground is nearly unraceable but this horse goes in anything apart from very quick ground and there is a race coming up in Navan for him," said Meade.

"This horse will stay at home and won't be going to Cheltenham and Aintree, but there is a race at the Punchestown Festival go for."

Ballyholland, last year's Galway Plate hero, made a great return to action with victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Irish Racing Writers Novice Hurdle. Coin McBratney's nine-year-old, running for the first time over the smaller obstacles won by a length and three-quarters from Mr Cracker.

Hot favourite Luska Lad took a crashing fall at the third-last, which resulted in Andrew McNamara being taken to hospital after being kicked in the neck.

McNamara, who was reportedly conscious but shaken up, was admitted to Naas Hospital for further observation.

Irish Independent

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