Thursday 18 January 2018

Faugheen looks banker bet for Ruby

Jockey Ruby Walsh celebrates victory on Faugheen
Jockey Ruby Walsh celebrates victory on Faugheen
Davy Condon

Davy Condon

Missing out on Punchestown is obviously disappointing but I won't dwell on it too much. After all, the season has still been my best in terms of winners.

Ruby Walsh has the plum ride today on impressive Cheltentenham winner Faugheen in The Herald Champion Novice Hurdle.

I know Faugheen is dropping back in trip after winning the Neptune at Cheltenham, but he has to be a certainty. He is not slow. He has plenty class, so much so that I don't think any of his rivals will be able to get him at it even over this trip.

If there is one in there that could shake up Willie Mullins' horse, maybe it is David Pipe's The Liquidator. He needs to recapture his best, but you'd have to respect his early form.

Hidden Cyclone should win the Champion Chase. He probably wouldn't want it any quicker as he likes to get his toe in, but they have been watering the ground to keep it good to yielding and that should be fine. On form, he has to be the one.

He has been second to Benefficient, Sire De Grugy and Dynaste in three Grade Ones in a row, so he deserves a race like this. Module may be the danger, but I think he could struggle to live with an on-song Hidden Cyclone over this trip.

In the Growise Champion Chase, I like Pat Fahy's Morning Assembly, which I won the three-mile Grade One novice hurdle on here last year. He is unbeaten in his last three starts at Punchestown, he rarely runs a bad race and was staying on when third in the RSA at Cheltenham.

Djakadam fell in the JLT, but he was travelling nicely at the time and it wouldn't surprise me to see him run well, too.

Another one to consider is Gordon Elliott's bumper debutant Alamein. A son of Beneficial, he is a nice horse that I've ridden plenty at home, and he has been in all season so he's fit. If Nina Carberry has some luck in running, it wouldn't surprise me if he obliged.


Davy's double:

Faugheen & Morning Assembly


Condon's call:

3.40 Lord Hawkfield; 4.20 Faugheen (nap); 4.55 Cool Macavity; 5.30 Hidden Cyclone; 6.05 Native Display; 6.40 Morning Assembly; 7.15 Alamein.

Irish Independent

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