So Young value to thwart rivals for Radobank Champion Hurdle second
The doubters came out in their droves ahead of Hurricane Fly’s bid to reclaim his Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham, but the hurdles kingpin had them eating their words with an imperious performance in seeing off 2012 winner Rock On Ruby. That rival will be favourite to chase him home in tomorrow’s 5:30 Radobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown, but the unfamiliar surroundings and heavy ground mean it could be worth taking an each way interest in So Young.
Barring injury or illness Hurricane Fly seems a certainty to record a sixteenth career Grade 1 success at Punchestown. Rock On Ruby – his only challenger within 10lbs on official ratings – has never won on the expected heavy ground, whilst the Fly has won four of his five career runs on such terrain.
The Champion Hurdler loves Punchestown too – the Kildare venue is just 35 minutes from Willie Mullins’ yard – having scored in six of his seven runs at the track. Furthermore he proved at Cheltenham that a strong gallop is not his achilles heel, winning going away despite being taken off the bridle up the back straight.
All of which seemingly makes the contest a dust-up for second place – one which his less celebrated stable-mate So Young looks to have an excellent chance of winning, considering his price.
Rock on Ruby maybe rated 18lbs superior to the aforementioned runner, but Harry Fry’s pride and joy is yet to score on ground worse than good to soft and needs better going to be seen at his best after a long season. He’ll also have a long and never-before-experienced journey across the Irish Sea to contend with, as well as racing right-handed for only the third time in a 15-race career.
Things will be that much more familiar for So Young, who has won on three of his four Punchestown visits. Futhermore he thrives on the ground too, having won five of his six career outings on going described as heavy or soft-to-heavy.
With Thousand Stars and Rebel Fitz – the other two beasts in the field rated higher than So Young – boasting records of one win in eight and nil wins in four on heavy ground respectively, the Mullins third string can nick second for each thieves and forecast merchants