It's a small field in the G1 Novice Hurdle but it still has to be won. Is the odds-on favourite a good thing?
Let's ask first-time correspondent John Ring from Rebel Racing, @tips_ROI.
Royal Bond Novice Hurdle
Grade 1, 2m, €85,000
1310 local 0010 AEDST
I have a very strong opinion here and it contrasts sharply to that of one Ruby Walsh. Bachasson is a stand out price here at around 7/2. A slightly small type he showed up well in the summer concluding in a Grade 3 Novice Hurdle win at Tipperary. Whilst that might not seem great form, the horse he beat on that occasion Three Stars has since gone on to win a Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Navan. Purely on a straight line through Three Stars, many will fancy Long Dog who beat Three Stars 10 lengths when they met. However Three Stars has progressed nearly a stone with every run and there can be no doubt he was a much improved horse when taking on Bachasson at Tipperary. Deemed better on soft ground by former connections the heavy ground he will encounter here is a slight worry but I can’t help but feel the market has had a drastic overreaction to such a possibility and he did win on “very soft” in France, not to mention his high knee action suggesting he will relish a bit more dig. Bachasson is a slick jumper who’ll have no trouble jumping at speed on this relatively tight track. He has to be the bet to beat an even money or shorter Long Dog who seems better at 2 and a half miles and who whose jumping has been questionable when under pressure over two miles.
Of the remainder Gunnery Sergeant looks the best as suggested by the book. He looked the most likely winner when coming to grief two out in a Novice Hurdle at Gowran Park last weekend but he has a quick turnaround here and Noel Meade basically said during the week he’s going because Gigginstown want to support the race.
Archive is a horse I like but I feel he will need 2 and a half miles to show his best form as a novice hurdler. He is one who could win some sort of a graded race as I definitely think he can run into the 140’s when conditions fall right for him. That said, he is likely to be caught for toe here.
Baily Cloud is a lovely consistent horse but he’s fully exposed at this stage and this looks like a stopgap before going into handicaps around Christmas time.