Gowran Park: Cheltenham contenders in Galmoy Hurdle and Thyestes Chase
David Metcalf | January 21, 2016
Alpha Des Obeaux holds all the aces in Galmoy
Alpha Des Obeaux has shaped really well to finish runner-up on both starts this season, so can one better to gain a deserved success in the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park (14.00) and enhance his Cheltenham Festival claims.
The Mouse Morris trained gelding showed progressive form throughout last season, and ran a blinder when chasing home the brilliant Douvan over 2m at Punchestown.
Alpha Des Obeaux was also in the process of running a huge race in a Grade 1 contest over 3m at Aintree when a length down and rallying when coming to grief at the last in a race eventually won by Thistlecrack.
The pair were miles clear of the rest when disaster struck for Alpha Des Obeaux, and the winner is a rapidly improving sort who is currently 9/4 favourite with Coral for the 2016 World Hurdle.
Des Obeaux can bounce back and be Alpha male
It was a performance which suggested the six-year-old had the scope to make up into a very smart staying hurdler this season, and that view was confirmed when Alpha Des Obeaux finished a highly creditable second to Arctic Fire over 2m 4f at Fairyhouse on reappearance.
Alpha Des Obeaux backed that up with a solid second to Prince Of Scars in the Christmas Hurdle over 3m at Leopardstown, finishing 5 1/2 lengths in front of the third home Martello Tower.
I think the son of Saddler Maker can confirm the form with that rival and prove himself a live outsider for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday, March 17th, for which Alpha Des Obeaux is currently 14/1 with Coral.
Martello Tower also holds claims
Martello Tower is entitled improve for his run in the Christmas Hurdle and looks the obvious danger.
The Mags Mullins trained gelding showed a terrific attitude when winning last season’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and ran as if ring rusty on his first outing for 290 days at Leopardstown.
Martello Tower has proven form in testing conditions, and a bold showing will earn him a crack at the World Hurdle for which he is 16/1 with Coral.
Geraghty goes on At Fishers Cross
Leading owner JP McManus is doubly represented, with retained rider Barry Geraghty siding with the Rebecca Curtis trained British challenger At Fishers Cross over Tony Martin’s Noble Emperor.
At Fishers Cross makes his first appearance since finishing fourth in last season’s World Hurdle and Curtis expects her charge to need the run.
The nine-year-old is a fragile sort who is often let down by his jumping, but off a rating of 157 has 5lb and upwards in hand on his four rivals.
That makes At Fishers Cross, who can be backed at 33/1 with Coral for this year’s World Hurdle, a big player, but I cant’t help but feel he will prove vulnerable to some unexposed and progressive types.
The field is completed by Briar Hill, who is sent back to the track by trainer Willie Mullins for the first time since falling in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan last February and has plenty to prove.
Rule The World has plenty going for him in Thyestes
Rule The World looks decent each-way value in a typically fierce and wide-open renewal of the 3m 1f Thyestes Handicap Chase (15.10).
Trained by the popular Morris, who could well be on for a big race double at Gowran Park, the gelding had some top class form to his name over hurdles and was rated 152 at his peak.
Although yet to score in 11 starts over fences, Rule The World has finished runner-up on seven occasions and posted some really sold efforts.
They include an excellent second to the now 155-rated Wounded Warrior in a decent Grade 2 contest at Naas, and a cracking second of 28 to Thunder And Roses in last year’s Irish Grand National.
Irish National form is a plus
Rule The World travelled strongly and jumped really well in the latter, looking the ideal type for this contest.
The nine-year-old also looked sure to play a hand in the finish in the valuable Galway Plate when travelling strongly at the head of affairs only to slip up between the final two fences, and comes into the race on the back of a fine nine length second to exciting 158-rated novice No More Heroes in a Grade 1 contest at Leopardstown.
Judged on the aforementioned runs Rule The World’s current mark of 148 looks exploitable, and connections have shrewdly booked rising star Jack Kennedy to do the steering.
Kennedy is terrific value for his 5lb claim, and taking into into account Rule The World looks weight to run a huge race on ground which will hold no fears.
Folsom Blue also a contender
Morris also runs Folsom Blue, who like Rule The World carries the famous Gigginstown House Stud colours, and is the chosen mount of their retained jockey Bryan Cooper
The nine-year-old bounced back to form when keeping on well to finish third of 20 to Minella Foru in a valuable 3m contest at Leopardstown last month, and looks a big danger judged on that effort.
Although Folsom Blue has been raised 5lb for that run, a revised mark of 135 should not be beyond him given that he finished a solid fifth of 26 to Shutthefrontdoor off it in the 2014 Irish Grand National.
Off a featherweight of just 10st 1lb, the mud-loving Folsom Blue looks to have lots going for him and should make this one very competitive with stablemate Rule The World.
Coral’s top tips
Alpha Des Obeaux has some very useful form to his name, so rates a solid bet to get the better of Martello Tower and enhance his World Hurdle claims.
Rule The World has some top class form to his name and looks worth an each-way wager in an ultra-competitive renewal of the Thyestes Chase.