Tuesday 16 January 2018

Murphy hopeful Voler can strike again on happy hunting ground

CLASSY mare Voler La Vedette is all set to bid for a fourth course win at Punchestown on Sunday.

Colm Murphy's charge made a successful reappearance there last month in her first race since April. The six-year-old will now attempt to register her first Grade One victory in the Dobbins & Madigans At Punchestown Hurdle, registered as the Morgiana Hurdle.

"All being well she'll go there," said the Wexford trainer. "She's done really well since her last race and I couldn't be happier with her."

Voler La Vedette has been installed 6/4 favourite with Ladbrokes, whose spokeswoman Hayley O'Connor said: "We think Voler La Vedette has the advantage after already winning here last month and with Charles Byrnes indicating Solwhit could need the run, we've installed her as our 6/4 favourite."

Murphy's Big Zeb is reported to be in tip-top shape following his triumphant return to action at Navan on Sunday. The trainer will give his stable star an easy time over the next couple of weeks before getting him razor sharp for Leopardstown on December 27.

"It was perfect and he's good today, so I'm delighted," Murphy said. "We'll keep him ticking over, freshen him up and all being well he'll go to Leopardstown over Christmas."

Pipe resigned to Run success

David Pipe believes the Nicky Henderson-trained Long Run is a "certainty" for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Long Run is the 7/2 market leader with the sponsors, while Pipe is responsible for the 4/1 second favourite Great Endeavour. However, the Nicholashayne trainer feels his runner faces a difficult task against the French import.

When Pipe was asked about Long Run's chance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, he responded: "A certainty," and when asked if he was serious, he replied: "Yes."

Conditional jockey Ian Popham will take the ride on top-weight Poquelin, trained by Paul Nicholls, after 26 horses were remained in the handicap chase at the five-day stage.

JP McManus looks set to be well represented in the race with Finger Onthe Pulse, Sunnyhillboy, Dancing Tornado and Can't Buy Time all in the reckoning.

Sunnyhillboy is the shortest priced of the quartet in the betting, but retained rider Tony McCoy looks set to partner one of the other runners due to his light weight. Trainer Tom Taaffe reports Finger Onthe Pulse to be an intended runner.

Paddy Power Gold Cup betting -- 7/2 Long Run, 5/1 Great Endeavour, 6/1 Sunnyhillboy, 10/1 Catch Me, Mad Max, 12/1 bar.

Irish Independent

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