Saturday’s Leopardstown card saw five sensational performances in the Grade 1 & 2 contests and I would be surprised if we did not see at least three Cheltenham Festival winners amongst the quintet. Honeysuckle now heads the betting for the Champion Hurdle with the mare now a best price of 5/2 with sponsors Unibet to maintain her unbeaten record.
Plumpton and Carlisle failed their inspections on Monday morning but Fairyhouse was given the green light and I was surprised to see Royal Kahala (2.30) put in as big as 11/4 on Sunday for the feature Solerina Hurdle with bookies running scared of the unbeaten Willie Mullins trained mare Gauloise.
I believe the market is now correct with the selection 11/8 with Boylesports although Mullins should know where he stands with the selection as he saddled the runner up when Peter Fahey’s mare landed her hat-trick here last month.
At Newcastle Moon King (2.00) can take the 2m 4f Jumpers Bumper at Newcastle for Charlie Longsdon. The selection is rated 90 on the level and was due to run in a similar event here over two miles here last month but was beset with travel problems. He had previously won a novice hurdle over this trip at Musselburgh and I will be disappointed if he does not follow up today.
I am not convinced it was Brian Hughes’ finest hour when Onward Route (3.35) finished second to Who’s My Jockey over C&D last week when the champion jockey appeared to give his mount too much to do. He is 6lbs better off with the winner this afternoon and I hope to see the selection ridden more prominently this afternoon. The selection is 9/4 from 11/4 with 10bet. A market move for the Ian Williams’ trained King Of Realms would be worth noting.
I hope it is a good day for the McCain stable as Blakeney Point would have got the nod had he not had a hard race at Musselburgh on Saturday, but I hope to see the yard double up with Goobinator (4.40) in the finale. The selection continues to be let down by his hurdling but has a decent engine and is rated 80 on the flat. The 5-y-old is a winner on fibresand on the level over 12f and it would be no surprise if Brian Hughes tried to make all. Busy Street must try and give the selection 6lbs but was impressive here on his penultimate start before a slightly subdued performance last week.
Musselburgh passed its inspection on Sunday morning and Prince Kayf, at the time of writing, is due to run over 3m 2f. He is unlikely to take up today’s option if facing the starter yesterday but is a horse who I feel we should keep on the right side of going forward.