Galileo boosts Supreme claims
GALILEO'S Choice duly landed the odds with the minimum of fuss in the Easter Festival 8th-10th April Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
The Dermot Weld-trained six-year-old was prominent in the betting for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival before making his seasonal reappearance.
And he did his prospects no harm with a convincing display.
Grand National hopeful Becauseicouldntsee set out to make all of the running over this two miles and led until just before the final flight, when Robbie McNamara brought the 2/9 favourite with a menacing run.
Galileo's Choice jumped to the front and won by four-and-a-half lengths without getting out of second gear.
Becauseicouldntsee stuck on well for second ahead of Terminal.
Stan James were impressed with the winner and trimmed him to 10/1 from 12s for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Weld said: "It was a pleasing performance. Robbie said he wouldn't be in love with the ground and apart from a slight mistake three out, I was pleased with the performance.
"It didn't tell us anything we didn't already know about him but it was more experience for him and, provided everything goes well, he'll take his chance in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
"He'll be a better horse on nice ground, is a dual-purpose horse rated 110 on the Flat and can win more Group races.
"If everything goes well in his next race, he'll go back on the Flat then -- staying Group races will be his main profession this year."
Galileo's Choice could be joined in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle by Simonsig, who set himself up for a tilt at the Cheltenham race with a convincing win in the BetVictor Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso.
Nicky Henderson's imposing grey has been backed into favourite for the Cheltenham event over two miles, but has already won a point-to-point over three miles.
He gave Fingal Bay a fright on his last start, but Henderson was forced to send him on the long trip from Lambourn due to a lack of opportunities down south.
Having raced keenly under Barry Geraghty for the first mile, Simonsig (2-7 favourite) tracked the leader Knockara Beau into the straight, but an untidy jump two out did not help him.
He was soon back on the bridle, though, and Geraghty did not move a muscle as the grey eased two and a quarter lengths clear of Knockara Beau, with Local Hero third.