herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Gold is in Pipe-Line

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The poor record of Irish horses in the race, the poorer record of five-year-olds and his inexperience over fences having only had three starts over the larger obstacles all make Djakadam look a very short priced favourite for tomorrow's Hennessy Gold Cup.

Willie Mullins' runner is as short as 7/2 to win one of the most hotly contested races in the jump season this side of Christmas and while he is trained by a genius and ridden by the best we've ever seen, it's hard to put the hard earned cash behind him with a sackful of confidence.

Looking down the field and trying to come up with some value wasn't extraordinary easy either but a horse who might be worth taking a stab on here is David Pipe's Ballynagour.

The Pipe's have won this race at least once in each of the last three decades and hopefully at 20/1 Ballynagour can possibly extend that impressive record in a race that saw Madison Du Berlais give David Pipe his first taste of victory in the race in 2008 after taking over from father Martin.

The eight-year-old has a CV glittered with highs and lows and took an unorthodox route to Pond House after winning a point-to-point in Ireland and then being sold to race in France before ending up with Pipe for whom he won at last years Cheltenham Festival.

This is the race that heralded Denman to a wider audience and while Ballynagour is certainly no Denman, he is a horse who could relish this step up in trip and that may indeed be the making of him after connections dropped him back in trip at Punchestown where he was second to Sizing Europe in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase.

If he stays the trip tomorrow, he'll have that bit of class and hopefully a kick at the end of the race to go very close.

The Fighting Fifth Hurdle is unfortunately not extremely well contested and Irving should oblige here for Paul Nicholls and Nick Schofield. He wasn't disgraced behind Vautour in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and should be able to the hold the Irish raider Arctic Fire.

Sunday's action at Fairyhouse is nothing short of top class and whether Allez Colombieres can go on and win a Supreme Novices' Hurdle remans to be scene but he could be a bigger price on Sunday evening than he is now if No More Heroes can step up to Grade One honours.

No More Heroes proved to be a very good bumper horse and didn't disappoint on his hurdling debut albeit against a modest field, but his experience will certainly be a help and he can oblige in the Royal Bond at 2/1.

It could indeed be a Grade One Gigginstown double as Valseur Lido looks a real exciting novice chaser for this season and might just shade the Drinmore for Willie Mullins.

The Tullow Tank would be most peoples preferred winner but Valseur Lido just gets the nod to oblige in a thrilling little renewal.

Annie Power won't be a working mans price in the Hatton's Grace but she is worth going along to see as the super mare makes her seasonal return.

Even putting her in a double with the only horse to beat her, More Of That, at Newbury tomorrow, wouldn't be worth it.

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