Cooper Can Out-Fox Rivals
It was a Saturday of surprises with the cruel news that Ruby Walsh is going to miss a chunk of the season with a broken leg following his fall from Let’s Dance.
The return of Faugheen will be a treat for racegoers and now looks like being a pleasant surprise for Paul Townend and although ‘The Machine’ won’t be a backable price, you’d imagine he’ll be well tuned for his seasonal debut and even at 80 per cent he should be able to account for the line up in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.
Cooper Can Out-fox Rivals
Some on ITV Racing were describing this weekend at Cheltenham ‘career defining’ for Bryan Cooper as he had some big rides for the late Alan Potts and trainer Colin Tizzard and while that statement may be a bit much, he’ll certainly be keen to return to Ireland next week after making his mark on the Cotswolds.
After Finian’s Oscar on Friday, Cooper can return to the number one spot on Fox Norton today.
Fox Norton returns to the scene of his only Grade One defeat last spring when he ran a cracker but gave best to Special Tiara in the Champion Chase. Victories at Aintree and Punchestown showed he was a top two-miler and hardy as well to have ran up to that level at all three festivals and on the ground, which won’t suit Special Tiara at all, Fox Norton can make a winning return.
Cooper doesn’t ride Slate House at Cheltenham for Tizzard but he looks a smart type and it may be a good day for the Tizzard team and a good weekend for Harry Cobden too.
Value at Cork
It was difficult to pick out much that represented good value at Punchestown although any market moves for Speirling in the bumper should be followed as 8/1 looked big about him after he made an encouraging debut at the Punchestown Festival when a 50/1 shot.
However, there’s a good case to be made for Kilcarry Bridge in the nine-runner JP McManus Hurdle at Cork.
There’s no doubt that Danny Mullins won’t get the freebie he got when the horse nearly caused a massive shock at Punchestown in a Grade 3 last month, but
Kilcarry Bridge still ran to a very high rating that day and there can be no argument that the John Ryan team are in some form of late.
This 10-year-old doesn’t hide a lot from the handicapper after going up 12lbs for his last effort over hurdles when he bolted up on heavy ground at Cork and while that hike won’t help him, he’s a horse in form taking on a small field where most of the runners are out of form. 9/2 could look a big price after the race.
Kilcarry Bridge (10/3) – 1.55 Cork
Fox Norton (10/11) – 2.25 Cheltenham
*Prices correct at time of publication.