Our Irish Eyes column is back with all the best bets for this afternoon
Last Updated: 22/12/13 11:30am
Un De Sceaux: Looks to face straightforward task
The highlight at Thurles this afternoon is undoubtedly the appearance of Willie Mullins' unbeaten Un De Sceaux but we shall have to wait for another day before we find out more than we already know about him for he is head and shoulders above the two opposition here.
Despite getting seven pounds from the favourite, Rory O'Moore is nevertheless 23 pounds wrong at the weights with Un De Sceaux while Our Ollie is completely outclassed and connections will be merely hoping he stays on his feet in order to collect his share of the €10,000 on offer.
In fact, with Rory O'Moore seemingly unable to set foot on a racecourse without setting a strong pace, there is a chance poor Our Ollie could be tailed off very early in this two-mile event.
The pace of the race should at least prove telling here. It is obvious from his two Punchestown wins that Un De Sceaux looks a Grade One winner in the making and there has been plenty of talk about him having the potential to make into a Champion Hurdle horse one day but he has pulled exceptionally hard in his races.
Connections will be hoping that he settles better today and the fact that Rory O'Moore is in today's race can only help his chances. It will bode well for the future if he has learnt to settle a bit more since last seen in April but either way, barring accidents, he should win this by a wide margin.
The two mile six maiden hurdle throws up an interesting 'match' - and we have had to choose that word very carefully - as the word 'battle' certainly doesn't apply in this case of these two individuals, namely Thunder And Roses and Urano.
The former was turned over at 4/5, when sporting cheekpieces on his last run at Punchestown - he has looked very once-paced over every trip and he will surely be switched to fences if he cannot go close here today.
Then we have Urano - unbeaten in three starts in France, he has somehow managed to finish second on all five runs here in Ireland and he has been odds-on for the last three! He steps up in trip drastically here and given that this distance failed to bring out the desired improvement in Thunder And Roses on his last run,
Urano gets the vote here, in the hope it will work the oracle for him. In any event, on all known form, his runs suggest he is the classier animal of the two, having beaten horses such as subsequent Royal Bond winner The Tullow Tank in the past. The 6/5 on offer with skybet.com looks quite fair in the context of this race.
From a punting point of view, the one horse that looks over priced on today's card is Kilcarry Bridge in the 2m6f Exit 6 To The Horse & Jockey Rated Novice Hurdle. He won his first hurdle but then disappointed badly on his second start when there was obviously something amiss that day.
He has since run three times over fences, falling on the first of them, finishing a well-beaten fourth on the second before running a very good second to Sitcom here on his last start.
He reverts to hurdles now with his trainer fresh from saddling a winning favourite in a beginners chase last week. He runs with the choke out and wears his heart on his sleeve so the danger is that he could set it up for others. However the current morning shows of between 7/1 and 8/1 simply do not represent his true chances of taking this event and he consequently he gets the next best vote in a tight looking event.
Nap: Urano, 2.50 Thurles
Next Best: Kilcarry Bridge, 2.20 Thurles