By James Regan – @racingtracker on Twitter
So here we are 1 week away from the ROAR. Were the dreams of many are to be realised and shattered during a week of exhilarating racing.
It all starts with the Supreme Novices Hurdle, which over the years has produced some great horses in recent years such as Altior, Douvan & the late Vautour.
Will we see something special this year, I think it is possible, Getabird to me is pretty much a good thing to get us off to a good start in the festival. His form lines are really strong, his first Bumper win has produced several repeating winners in bumpers and hurdles.
He then beat Hardline in his second bumper and Hardline has gone 22113311 in his next set of runs and is a good shout in whatever he runs in at Cheltenham.
On hurdles debut he beat Impact Factor who then won next time out, he then came second to Hardline last time out, again several winners, some multiple, also finished behind him in this debut hurdle run. Then on his last run he stuffed the then Supreme favourite Mengli Khan, Carter Mckay & High School Days who was unbeaten in 3 going into the race at Punchestown.
So, his form is very strong indeed and the way he dispatched Mengli Khan at Punchestown was impressive, I would have zero concerns regarding the right hand so called problem.
Up against him Kalashnikov trained by Amy Murphy has been a really good horse this year. Amy says that better ground will improve him, and it may well do. I would be concerned about the hard race on very testing ground in the Betfair Hurdle, at the current prices I think Kalashnikov is too short.
Samcro has shortened dramatically probably due to the forecasted rain and a Bet365 NRNB offer at 14/1 and everyone laying him off elsewhere. It is highly unlikely he will run here but we will know on Sunday after 10am.
Summerville Boy has an EW shout but no more than that, unless it turns up Heavy then he has a chance, he finished ahead of Kalashnikov at Sandown and the form is solid but not spectacular, has however run at Cheltenham twice and lost, but that course experience could eek out a bit of improvement.
Claimingtakingforgan just went pop for me at Musselburgh and that is not good enough to win here. Good 3rd in the Bumper last year though at the Festival.
Mengli Khan definitely is a tad overpriced, he is well regarded and could bounce back and is worth a small EW bet at the prices to cover our bet on Getabird.
Paloma Blue could be very interesting if definitely showing up here ran a decent 3rd behind Samcro last time out, but the time of that race was pretty slow compared to others at the Dublin Racing Festival and for me has plenty to find.
Sharjah was very disappointing that weekend and many in the Mullins yard have said he will be much better on better ground. He could be a dark horse, I would definitely watch the markets on the day, could be a very nice back to lay option on the exchanges.
One at a very big price that could easily improve is Scarlet Dragon, if he can jump better than his hurdles debut he could easily run into a place. He was beat by Global Citizen who looked really good but has been ruled out of the County Hurdle I believe.
Getabird – NAP General 13/8 may go off 7/4 on day.
Each Way Options, Mengli Khan 12/1, Sharjah 20/1 & Scarlet Dragon 33/1