Author: Darren Moore
Published: 08:31 28/11/2015
Saturday’s 2.05pm at Newcastle promises to be a revealing Grade 1 hurdle over the 2m trip. The Stan James Fighting Fifth Hurdle continues to be a happy hunting ground for Champion Hurdle candidates, wannabes and top class hurdlers to strut their stuff and this select seven-runner field promise to throw up another cracker.
Last season’s County Hurdle winner Wicklow Brave is a tremendous horse, an owner's dream really, who has been kept on the go on the flat all summer and bar a blip in the Galway Hurdle, has held his form very well. He started off this campaign with a very solid third place effort behind stablemates Nichols Canyon and Faugheen, clocking a fast time in the process and is understandably comfortably holding sway at the head of the market, trading at 7/4 with the sponsors.
However, IRVING has turned a corner this season thus far, notching up two convincing victories in Wincanton’s Elite Hurdle first time out earlier this month and following up two weeks later by slamming Top Notch at Haydock, despite some erratic jumping; which you’d hope will be ironed out for this assignment. The lure of a horse in winning form from a stable such as Paul Nicholls is hard to ignore on any given Saturday and this hugely talented 7yo, regardless of his Champion Hurdle credentials, is riding the cusp of a wave right now and if he turns up in the same kind of form, he will be a hard animal to stop.
Beltor is completely unexposed and offers an intriguing prospect from a small yard. Henry De Bromhead has always held Identity Thief in high esteem and Gigginstown have seen fit to let him take his chance here on the back of a confidence boosting win last time out, while Top Notch also re-opposes and could find plenty of improvement from that opening run.
Intense Tango is useful but has a bit to find, while at a similar price, Purple Bay needs to seriously bounce back after a very poor run last time out. On the form of last season, he would be a big player, but all things considered he looks up against it.
Irving is top price 10/3 (4.33) 2nd favourite with Paddy Power to complete his hat-trick of wins so far this season and he looks to be ticking all of the right boxes for Newcastle’s showpiece on a cracking day of horse racing action.
IRVING - 2pts to win @ 10/3 with Paddy Power to win the Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2.05 Newcastle)
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