Thursday 18 October 2018

La Bella Vida great value each-way option

Joseph O’Brien with the Philips Lighting Manager of the Month award for November.
Joseph O’Brien with the Philips Lighting Manager of the Month award for November.

Wayne Bailey

There are a number of interesting entries for this afternoon's Grade B EasyFix Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse (1.25), but the one that catches the eye most is the Elizabeth Doyle-trained La Bella Vida, which was available at 16/1 and higher yesterday evening.

She unseated her rider at the second over this course and distance in a novice chase last time out, but was the comfortable winner of a mares' novice chase at Tipperary previously and I don't think the handicapper has gone to town with a rating of 118.

She was useful over hurdles in her day and looks promising over fences. At the prices, she's a decent each-way bet in an open race.

We've a very strong card here tomorrow with three Grade Ones and I was surprised to see Joseph O'Brien's LE RICHEBOURG trading as big as 9/2 for the Grade One Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle an hour after the Angelus bells had rung.

With three wins in as many races over timber, he's an exciting prospect and, although you could argue that we didn't learn a whole lot by his latest two odds-on victories, he looks the type that gets the job done with the minimum of fuss.

One of today's rivals, Red Jack, beat him in a bumper on his debut but the real threat to the bet comes from Gordon Elliott's Mengli Khan, which won a Grade Three at Navan last time.

Next up is the Grade One Hatton's Grace Hurdle (1.30) and at the time of writing, Willie Mullins's Nichols Canyon is vying for favouritism with Gordon Elliott's Apple's Jade at around 11/8.

Elliott's mare may have the slight fitness edge having won a Grade Two at Navan last month, and the five-year-old has clocked up an impressive eight wins from 12, including this race last year and the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

But despite an allowance for her sex, I still feel she'll have a bit to make up on Cheltenham Stayers' Hurdle winner NICHOLS CANYON, which memorably beat the mighty Faugheen at Punchestown in 2015.

He certainly wasn't disgraced when narrowly beaten by Unowhatimeanharry at Punchestown last time out in April, and if he's anywhere near his best this could turn out to be a cracking race.

A field of 20 go to post for the Grade A Bar One Racing Handicap Hurdle, and Gordon Elliott's Ben Dundee was warm in the early betting around 7/2 with the hugely talented Jack Kennedy on board.

Having landed a big gamble on his debut for this stable in a handicap at Punchestown in October, he's not dismissed lightly but the cat is out of the bag and the bookmakers are not taking any chances at the price.

Instead, a tentative each-way vote goes to Elliott's other entry VEINARD, which should go off somewhere in the region of 25/1 under Denis O'Regan.

He was below form when eighth of 13 runners at Down Royal last time, but he looked in need of the run and is the type that seems to bounce back unexpectedly.

Another Elliott runner DEATH DUTY will almost certainly be odds-on in the Grade One Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase (2.35), but this looks a straightforward penalty-kick for the six-year-old, which is two from two over fences.

It's no secret that the yard hold him in high regard and following some top-class wins over hurdles he's making his mark as a chaser and looks open to further improvement.

Again, we didn't learn a lot from his two odds-on successes in this sphere, but as they say, he can only beat what's in front of him on the day.

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