Its a bumper day of racing with the Irish Hennessy, Denman Chase & Betfair Hurdle odds all available to watch live streaming with Paddy Power’s new online television service.
The Irish bookmaker has recently released its horse racing television service, and with some high quality racing to get stuck into for punters, its proving extremely popular with there Cheltenham Festival only weeks away.
With the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the horizon, excitement is building. This weekend’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown will further enhance the anticipation as the race is regarded as a key trial for the Cheltenham showpiece.
Two of the ante-post pacesetters are due to clash again in Ireland as Sir Des Champs, 5/1 with Ladbrokes for the Gold Cup, and Flemenstar, a 12/1 shot with the same firm, go into battle for third time this season.
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Punters will be well aware that two horses have won both the Irish Hennessy and Gold Cup in the same year – Jodami (1993) and Imperial Call (1996) – and there is a feeling that 16 year duck could be broken this year by one of these two classy chasers.
The bookmakers can’t separate the pair in the build-up to the Hennessy.
Flemenstar perhaps shades the market support at 5/4 with Bet365, with William Hill cutting him into 11/10 in recent days, whilst Sir Des Champs is a general 5/4 chance with most bookmakers. But we have serious doubts about Flemenstar’s ability to stay this three-mile trip, and so do his connections, although they aren’t going to admit it. Anyone having a play on the Hennessy surely has to take Sir Des Champs at 5/4.
Willie Mullins star chaser was a strong ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham showpiece at the start of the season but he has failed to really put that potential into action, being beaten on both his starts in Ireland.
He made his reappearance in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase in December but was beaten fair and square by the race-fit Flemenstar, who was more suited to the speedy nature of the race rather than Sir Des Champs.
Many people expected Mullins’ charge to turn that form on its head in the Lexus Chase over Christmas as it was a race that has more a focus on stamina. Sir Des Champs’ performance was much more like his showings of last season but he still could only finish fourth – albeit a very close fourth – behind Tidal Bay.
Flemenstar travelled supremely well into the race but his stamina ran out in the final stages – we can see similar happening again. It was Sir Des Champs’ jumping that let him down more than anything in the Lexus Chase.
On the home turn he clattered fences when he looked be making up significant ground on the leaders and was never really able to get into a momentum with enough velocity to fire him to the front. Mullins seems to believe he will be more professional at his fences this time around and when a man that has won the Hennessy six times speaks, it is wise to listen.
It’s not only the Hennessy punters have to look forward to on Saturday as there are six other intriguing contests to mull over.
The Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle is one to certainly keep an eye on in regards to the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Mullins’ Une Atout leads the market at Evens with William Hill and will be very hard to stop.
Mullins could be in for a successful day as Boston Bob, the ante-post second favourite for the RSA Chase, goes in the Dr. P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase. He has a big reputation within the Mullins’ yard and looked an exciting talent when finishing second in last year Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, but flattered to deceive on his chase debut last year.
They will be expecting much more and he’ll need to produce if he has any aspirations of being a player at the Festival next month.