One of the hottest favourites for this year’s renewal of the Festival arrives in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, the four-year-old event that’s inception was back in 2005, with Paul Nolan’s Dabiroun taking the inaugural running.
Despite not making an appearance for Willie Mullins, Gaelic Warrior has been supposedly gifted an opening British mark of 131, failing to win in three hurdle races in France before switching to Closutton.
Donning the infamous pink-and-green silks of Mrs Susanna Ricci for the first time at Prestbury Park next week, the son of Maxios is as short as 11/4 for his debut for the all-time leading Festival handler.
However, only once since 2013 has a horse won this event carrying less than 11st on their back – that was last year when Jeff Kidder stormed to a shock 80-1 success.
To add, Mullins has never won this race (0-16), in spite of the fact that Irish-based runners have taken the last four renewals – Gordon Elliot twice, Joseph O’Brien and Noel Meade landing the honours since 2018.
On that merit, Icare Allen is another who should likely be overlooked should he head here over the JCB Triumph Hurdle three days later.
To rub further salt into the wounds of Gaelic Warrior supporters, only one of the last 11 favourites of the contest has rewarded punters – Band Of Outlaws three years ago.
The likes of Veneer Of Charm, Hawk High and Flying Tiger have both returned at odds of 33/1 in recent years, while last year’s aforementioned successor was a mammoth 80/1.
In essence, 5/2 about a horse with plenty seemingly going against him is very short.
The alternative looks to be THE TIDE TURNS, who represents Gordon Elliot, the trainer having recorded three wins in this event since 2013.
Additionally, 9 of the last 17 winners had won once over hurdles (he won at Punchestown back in January), and six of the past 11 winners participated in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 earlier in the campaign (he was behind Vauban in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown).