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Monday 23 April 2018

Hidden way to Europe

Tilt at Leopardstown for Shark's star

The Alan King-trained Invictus. Picture: Square In The Air/Handout/PA Wire
The Alan King-trained Invictus. Picture: Square In The Air/Handout/PA Wire

TRAINER Shark Hanlon is eyeing a tilt at the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase with Hidden Cyclone following his superb run in defeat at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Despite winning at Listowel in September, Hidden Cyclone was a 20/1 shot for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, but outran those odds with a fine effort to finish third.

Hanlon feels his stable star will benefit from coming back in distance, with a trip to Leopardstown's Christmas meeting, and a likely clash with Sizing Europe, now on the agenda.

Hanlon said: "It was a super run as he was giving nearly a stone to the two horses in front of him and the horse than finished behind him.

"He was cruising coming down the hill and had a lot of horses off the bridle, but I just felt he didn't quite get home.

"Two and a half miles around Cheltenham is tougher than anywhere else, but I think we might bring him back in trip now and run him in the Dial-A-Bet at Leopardstown at Christmas over two miles and one (furlong).

"I think that was his best run ever on Saturday and it's a bit frustrating that he got 4lb more running in England than he would have in Ireland. There were other Irish horses in the entries who didn't go up at all.

"That extra 4lb could have made a difference. I think he's entitled to win a big one."

ALAN KING will continue the Hennessy Gold Cup preparations of Invictus with a racecourse gallop at Newbury this week, but believes his charge offers no value in the ante-post betting.

The 7/1 favourite fits the bill in terms of profile, as a lightly-raced and smart novice who collected on three of his four starts over fences and beat no less a horse than Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth in the Reynoldstown at Ascot, with Silviniaco Conti back in fourth.

That race, in February of last year, was the last time Invictus competed in public as he suffered a tendon injury when being prepared for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

"He's an absurd price at the moment," said King after watching the seven-year-old lead Wilde Blue Yonder and The Pirate's Queen in a routine canter up his Barbury Castle gallop.

"Whatever he does at Newbury, he is going to improve, but the handicapper has dropped him down to 145 and we'll do as much as we can with him.

"I wanted to get a run into him first, but there hasn't been time. If he was to have a run, it would have needed to be a month before.

"He's done all his work at home, he's been away once and he'll go away again to Newbury this week."

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