Along with the Royal Bond Novices Hurdle and the Hatton’s Grace this Sunday, Fairyhouse has a Grade 1 chase on a quality packed card. Won last year by Bog Warrior, owners Gigginstown Stud will be hoping to keep the race in their possession for another year, sending out another Tony Martin trained runner in the shape of Dedigout.
ARVIKA LIGEONNIERE – Has had his injury problems which saw him sidelined throughout the whole of 2011 but made a seriously impressive comeback on chasing debut with an unextended victory at Punchestown. Thrashed a horse in Giblin who wasn’t beaten much further by Hidden Cyclone since then and all the form suggests this horse could be the one to be on in this competitive Grade 1 chase. I always thought this horse would make into a cracking chaser and although it is embarking on that career a season or two later than I expected he still showed signs of that ability when winning when last seen.
BUCKERS BRIDGE – Remains unbeaten and connections wasted no time in going chasing after a successful bumper campaign yielding two impressive wins. A winner in the point-to-point sphere he made a winning chasing debut when beating Sword Of Destiny (impressive winner since). He looks the type to continue improving over longer distances and has plenty of time to shape himself into a decent staying chaser but I think this could be a step too soon here.
DEDIGOUT – A wide-margin winner on chasing debut but on the face of it, it was pretty much an egg-and-spoon race so he was entitled to win by such a distance. A very good novice hurdler, culminating with a good victory in Grade 1 conditions at the Punchestown Festival last spring he is certainly an interesting sort for the powerful owners Gigginstown and will be very popular with the betting public on the day I feel.
PRIDE OF THE ARTIC – Has certainly improved on his hurdles form since being sent chasing, culminating with a victory in the Grade 3 Like A Butterfly Novices Chase at Tipperary when last seen. Has been awarded a rating of 144, and although is another likely to run his race I think he’ll struggle against the main contenders in this race and could perhaps pick up a place if something happens to either Arvika Ligeonniere or Dedigout.
TEXAS JACK – Wasn’t as good as these over hurdles but made a winning chasing debut when edging out Make A Track at Naas. He will once again need to improve and the general feeling is that he has a task at hand to try and serve it up to the more likely rivals in this race and perhaps the experience is the best he can hope for at the moment.
In what looks a tight race, the bookmakers aren’t giving much away but I feel the value in the race certainly lies with ARVIKA LIGEONNIERE who at around 100/30 looks a cracking price against the ‘hype’ of Dedigout. Willie Mullins has his string in cracking form, has the best jockey in Ruby Walsh in the plate and ground conditions to suit.
[notification_box]1pt win Arvika Ligeonniere @ 10-3 with Ladbrokes [/notification_box]