Ladbrokes News vs Pricewise: Outlander set to land on Neptune
While we may all dream about spotting that potential improver, capable of stepping up and delivering on the big stage, the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle is probably not the best place to be looking.
Just one of the last 10 winners of the contest has come from outside of the top four in the betting, with the last six favourites all making the first three.
A proven animal at the top level is a necessity, with eight of the last 10 victors having won a Graded race in their hurdling career.
That narrows the field in this contest somewhat, and one horse that we keep coming back to when debating our choice is OUTLANDER (6/1)
Willie Mullins may saddle the market leader in Nichols Canyon (5/1), but the fact that he has yet to even race over a distance within 3f of Wednesday’s opening contest, we are siding with his stable-mate.
Gigginstown Stud will have plenty of options for this race, so it looks telling that he is seen as their main hope, and for good reason.
In a Leopardstown Grade 2 last time out, the supposed second string in the contest travelled with plenty of vigour, and cruised into contention rounding the home turn.
Coming to take the lead at the last, he easily put three lengths between him and the chasing pack, a burst of speed that could be vital at the Festival.
However he is not short of stamina, having been beaten just a neck by Martello Tower (33/1) over 3m on bottomless ground.
A fact that his best performance was at a distance nearest to the conditions he will face at Cheltenham should see him back to his best.
The fact that his handler has stated that he thinks “he’s got Neptune written all over him” in his latest Festival update, should speak volumes, especially with the array of talent he has at his disposal.
The Racing Post’s Pricewise may have plumped for Windsor Park (12/1) for this race, but although Dermot Weld’s charge did step up after going down to our selection two starts ago, we prefer to go for one with the form in the book this time round.
After Faugheen’s demolition job last year, here’s hoping Willie Mullins is toasting a fourth Neptune win in eight years come the end of proceedings at Prestbury Park.
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