Morgiana Joy For The Fly – Weekend Review

There wasn’t a dry eye in the grandstand at Punchestown on Sunday when Hurricane Fly turned back the clock to land the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle…

…though more importantly, it was the marker laid down in deafeting Jezki that may be more relevant.

Hurricane Fly
But, what impact will this have on the remainder of the season? Well, some may say that this triumph for Hurricane Fly could well be his cup final, but he couldn’t do any more than beat what was in front of him, and he did that convincingly in beating Jezki by over 2l.

Hurricane Fly’s odds are now 10/1 for the Champion Hurdle in March, and some will see that a touch tempting, after all, if he wins the Christmas Hurdle when others flop over the festive period, then he may well trade at single-figure odds.

As for Jezki, then his odds are now 5/1 for the Champion Hurdle, and it’s possible he may have needed the run more than his conqueror. The score now stands at 3-2 to Hurricane Fly, and their next clash at Christmas will be another to savour – who would your money be on at this stage?

There were further Punchestown pointers via Noel Meade’s, Chancol, who won the Grade 2 Craddockstown Novice Chase, where the red-hot favourite, Alechi Inois, lost his unbeaten record. This victory made it 2-2 for Chancol over fences, and the fact he jumped markedly to the left at this right-handed course suggests there will be more to come when he goes anti-clockwise over the bigger obstacles.

Shanahan’s Turn was another novice chaser on the scoresheet in the Grade 2 Florida Pearl over 2m6f, and Henry De Bromhead aims to step him up to Grade 1 company back here at Christmas. He remains an interesting prospect.

Meanwhile in Britain, trainer Philip Hobbs bagged an impressive tally of six winners at the three-day Open Meeting, including Garde La Victoire in Sunday’s Greatwood Hurdle. Hobbs played down this 5yo’s chances in the Champion Hurdle where he is 33/1, but he could still land another big handicap before moving up to face the big boys. The same could be said of Nicky Henderson’s runner-up, Vaniteux, who was a creditable runner-up off top-weight. Henderson admitted afterwards that his horse aren’t 100% at the moment, suggesting Vaniteux could gain compensation next time.

Henderson did eventually have a winner via Vyta Du Roc in the Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle , a useful prospect who already looks ready for a step up in trip. This race hasn’t really paved the way for Supreme winneras in the past, and a quote of 20/1 at this stage make limited appeal.

One who dos appeal as a Cheltenham Festival type is Alan King’s, Uxizandre, winner of the Listed 2m event, and a possible for the Champion Chase at 16/1. Runner-up in the JLT for novices at last year’s festival, he recorded a career best year and will be a force wherever he goes this year in favoured conditions, notably a small field, going left-handed.

Elsewhere, Dunraven Storm won the Arkle trial, an event in which the last four winners al followed-up, while Caid Du Berlais won the Paddy Power Gold Cup for Paul Nicholls. Neither really make any ante-post appeal, unlike David Pipe’s, Kings Palace, who only won a Class2 novice chase over 3m, but is highly rated and looks a very interesting early contender for the RSA Chase at 12/1.