IS THERE HONEY FROM TEEING UP AN ODDS-ON TREBLE? Daqman supernap Epatante was a shade of odds against on BETDAQ SATURDAY (no commission) and, though she won very easily, was still a rewarding 8-11 at SP in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle. You won’t get odds against today but will you get three winners from the stars of the Fairyhouse Grade-1 treble? Try it on BETDAQ:
⭕ 1.05 BALLYADAM Royal Bond Novice Hurdle
⭕ 1.35 ENVOI ALLEN Drinmore Novice Chase
⭕ 2.35 HONEYSUCKLE Hattons Grace Hurdle
🔹 EPATANTE PINS A MEDAL ON RUBY
🔹 HE’S BALLY GOOD ROYAL BOND BET
🔹 ENVOI ALLEN ENTERS THE ARENA
🔹 MULLINS’ TURN WITH TALL TIEP
🔹 EXPECTING A TASTE OF HONEY
EPATANTE PINS A MEDAL ON RUBY
Bomb proof! That’s a steal from Ruby Walsh, who said that about Epatante BEFORE yesterday’s race. But the ITV team was so busy with its creative links that the enormity of such a daring statement escaped them. When you are too busy joshing and jesting, meaning is lost.
The Fighting Fifth Hurdle conjures up courage and a head-to-head scrap, and it was so, we’re told, as the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers beat off an overwhelming enemy as ‘Lord Wellington’s Bodyguard,’ the fighting Fifth.
With Epatante there was no fight; she didn’t have to ‘engage with the enemy’. She absolutely cruised past them, revealing yet again the super athlete who won the Champion Hurdle in March.
She sailed over her hurdles, not even needing to bend her back – just a crouch of her legs – sprinting away from the last two, streamlined, neck extended, like a greyhound.
Earlier at Newbury the one to take out of the race won in very fast time by Flash The Steel was the second horse, Amour De Nuit.
Drifted like a lonely dog on a raft, out to 16-1, but ran as if the market had moved in the other direction.
In the Intermediate Hurdle, the talking horse Marie’s Rock and another drifter, Thyme White, were both in trouble but it was Thyme White who must be reckoned the unlucky one, trying to get through a wall of horses and jump a hurdle at the same time.
Marie’s Rock was always pulling hard and throwing her race away. Maybe the exuberant trainer who told us she had an ‘enormous engine’ and was ‘hopefully top class’. misheard the question and thought it was intended for her stablemate, Floressa. She made all at 10-1.
But, in deference to Nicky Henderson, Marie’s Rock looked, physically and in flashes of ability, as though she is a star; mentally, she is a reckless Maradona or wild Alex Higgins, before the skill and discipline to mould their raw innate talent.
Will it all come together as it did with them? Henderson has an enormous task to get inside the head of a potential champion. Or he can take the easy way out and run her over five furlongs at Lingfield with the brakes off!
HE’S BALLY GOOD ROYAL BOND BET
⭕ 1.05 Fairyhouse (Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, Grade 1) On the day Envoi Allen, winner of this race last year, returns to the track in the Drinmore, we have Ballyadam all set to emulate him on his launchpad of a year ago, the Royal Bond.
It would be a sensational, but not unexpected, double for Gordon Elliott, starting with a race that set Istabraq and Hurricane Fly on their cosmic trajectory.
I left the established champion, Epatante, out of the Fortune Cookies, thinking she would be no price, now or in the future; in fact, she was a shade of odds against on the BETDAQ Betting Exchange.
I chose instead to put Envoi Allen and – after his Down Royal seasonal debut – Ballyadam in the list, expecting some attempt to topple them.
But I knew it wasn’t going to happen in the Royal Bond when I saw at the declaration stage that seven of the probables were with Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.
Gordon chooses to run The Very Man and One Down, as well as Ballyadam; Willie tests the water with N’golo.
Four of them are so far rated 137 or 138, but there’s a mark of at least 150 awaiting Ballyadam as winner of this, so doing the same Down Royal and Fairyhouse early-bird double as Envoi Allen.
ENVOI ALLEN ENTERS THE ARENA
⭕ 1.35 Fairyhouse (Drinmore Novice Chase, Grade 1) Envoi Allen can expect a similar mark in the novice-chase section whatever he beats in this.
The same trainer’s Don Cossack was marked up to 152 when he took the Drinmore in 2013.
In fact, Gordon’s Delta Work (winner in 2018) would be given 153 but stablemate Death Duty (2017) had been hiked to 159 after giving a Drinmore drubbing to Rathvinden.
Joseph O’Brien broke the Elliott hold on this race last year when Gordon’s favourite, Samcro, fell two out.
O’Brien saddles two winners on the course and over the distance, Assemble and Home By The Lee.
Maybe Kevin Blake can give us a strong word for one of them to help the price of Envoi Allen. But, more likely, Ruby Walsh may dare to weigh in with another ‘bomb proof’ about the favourite.
MULLINS’ TURN WITH TALL TIEP
⭕ 2.05 Fairyhouse (Porterstown Chase) A 3m 5f marathon won by Presenting Percy in 2017, and with Noel Meade taking the prize twice in 10 years.
Gordon Elliott, who won it in 2015, has seven runners; archrival Willie Mullins has just one (Vois Des Tiep) and Meade saddles only Brace Yourself.
Though with just a 2m 4f win so far, Brace Yourself is related to long-distance hurdlers and you’d think that staying a marathon trip over fences would not present a problem.
Voix Des Tiep also takes his first step up to long-distance chasing. He’s a big, tall type, who likes plenty of cut in the ground, and lucky to get it after the dry spell elsewhere.
The Kim Muir hero, Milan Native, went Graded racing last time and had a rear view of the winner. Now he tries a marathon, back in handicaps.
This is a game of chance when so many are in new territory. No proof and easy to bomb out, but here’s hoping Brace Yourself (8.3) and Voix Des Tiep (10.5) give us a run for our money.
EXPECTING A TASTE OF HONEY
⭕ 2.35 Fairyhouse (Hattons Grace Hurdle, Grade 1) Another odds-on shot, Honeysuckle. Which one of Ballyadam, Envoi Allen and Honeysuckle will be beaten? Or is it simply a case of waiting for three fat ladies to sing.
Istabraq, Hurricane Fly and Apple’s Jade are just a taste of the talent that’s won this. Now we expect a taste of honey.
Honeysuckle won this race last year and followed up in the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham, yet is only 3-4lb in front of her field here though, theoretically, the mares allowance hoists her clear by up to 10lb.
Fillies and mares have so dominated, Flat and Jumps this century, that it’s surely time to treat them as equals, enable the boys to have a chance.
BET 10pts win BALLYADAM
BET 10pts win ENVOI ALLEN
2.05 Fairyhouse (win 50)
BULL’S-EYE BET: 6pts win BRACE YOURSELF
BULL’S-EYE BET: 5.25pts win VOIX DES TIEP
2.28 Leicester (win 20)
BET 2.25pts win (nap) BABY KING
2.58 Leicester (win 10)
BET 2.75pts win JACK VALENTINE
3.05 Fairyhouse (win 10)
BET 1.5pts win GETAWAY GORGEOUS
BET 1.25pts win ADVANCED VIRGO
3.13 Ffos Las (win 10)
BET 3pts win ARQALINA
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