The Philip Hobb’s trained ‘IF IN DOUBT‘ has massive claims in what looks a very open renewal of the Champion Stayers Hurdle. The ex chaser diverted back to hurdles when winning at Wincanton in good fashion fending off Dubawi Island by two and a quarter lengths. The runner up has failed to shine there forth but never-less If In Doubt has ran up to his current mark in my opinion when third to Mall Dini in the Pertemps Network from the Cheltenham Festival. The ground was not in his favour at Aintree and was unlucky not land the Gasskell’s Waste when beaten by Ubak of Gary Moore’s.
Barry Geraghty really had to stoke him up from three out, with still ten lengths to make up, he ran on exceptionally well to go behind by one and three quarter lengths. Now I am hoping his recent two festival runs has not taken it out of him, he looks value at around twelve’s and I would expect him to come into the race very late and hopefully come over the top of them for Carlingford Lough’s jockey Barry Geraghty.
‘Shaneshill‘ comes into this probably a tad unlucky not to land the RSA Chase at Prestbury Park last month, he also did not run that badly at Aintree when staying on for a runners up spot behind Thistlecrack in the Liverpool Stayers Hurdle. I actually feel he is better over the larger obstacles, cannot not fathom out why they have diverted back to hurdles. You can never right off ‘Thousand Stars‘ and at 28/1 he will have his followers. Finished off last season when winning the Grade 1 Grand Prix D’Automne in France under Ruby Walsh, he is just one that comes off a fast pace, so if they go a goods clip he could be staying on past beaten horses for place money.
Gordon Elliott’s ‘Diamond King‘ makes a lot of appeal against my selection, Since leaving a trainer that has fell by the wayside the past season is Donald McCain, arriving in Ireland he was given his first spin for new trainer when fourth at Down Royal, he made a sizeable amount of ground up that day and finished just under eight lengths off the eventual winner Fethard Prayer who finished runner up in the County Hurdle. Since then he has progressed nicely under the guidance of Gordon Elliott, recording a second behind the smart Blue Hell at Fairyhouse.
He then turned up at Punchestown when he comfortably saw off Jennies Jewel to just under four lengths, who had already finished behind the likes of Vroum Vroum Mag this year. He held that form well and went into the Cheltenham festival in fine form and did not disappoint when landing the Coral Cup when beating Ubak and Long House Island respectively.
The Ubak form is interesting when weighing this up, with Ubak winning at the festival also, the fact that Diamond King easily had his measure, and the selection was denied by Ubak in the County Hurdle, so in reality both Diamond King along with If In Doubt can set the standard here in my opinion, my reservations are with Diamond King, but I also feel If In Doubt is over priced in this.
IF IN DOUBT : £20 each way @ 12/1 (BOG)