Racing News : January 13th

Fairyhouse Races

Today’s racing news features Cheltenham Ryan Air Chase contender Don Cossack.

Trainer Gordon Elliott has confirmed he will run at Thurles in Thursday’s Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles.

Don Cossack has enjoyed an excellent campaign to date, winning three…..including the Grade One victory in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in December.

That victory ensured the eight-year-old took a prominent position in the market for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and Elliott indicated he may not run again before March.

However, the trainer has decided to go to Thurles for a final prep run.

“Don Cossack is in good form and the plan is to go to Thurles on Thursday and all going well then on to the Ryanair,” Elliott 

Don Cossack is currently priced 8.00 for the Ryanair, the same price as Willie Mullins’s Champagne Fever, who also holds an entry at Thurles this week.

Second in the Arkle last year, Champagne Fever’s latest effort saw him finish fourth over three-miles in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The step back to two-miles-and-five-furlongs in the Ryanair could be a plus for Champagne Fever after he appeared to struggle in the closing stages at Kempton.

The Kinloch Brae will be run over the same 2m 4f distance that found Don Cossack in such authoritative form at Punchestown.

Elsewhere it was a quiet weekend for Cheltenham pointers, with quite a few of the headline performers far from certain to take their place at the Festival come March.

Top billing on Saturday was shared by two novice hurdlers, with Douvan winning the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown hard held and Tea For Two making a mockery of his initial handicap mark in winning the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton by a country mile.

Douvan was winning a race landed the previous year by his stable companion Vautour, who went on to Cheltenham Festival success in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Douvan was obviously visually impressive and it’s impossible to know exactly how much Ruby Walsh had up his sleeve, but  there was  a general shortening in price for the Supreme to his current 3.35.

In terms of the Supreme market, 5.6 second favourite L’Ami Serge has at least as much potential as Douvan and achieved slightly more to date.

He had won the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle the previous weekend, showing as good a turn of foot as could be hoped for on very testing ground. 

For an assist we have a Timeform abridged Racecard for Southwell this afternoon……

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