Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien is well represented in Cheltenham’s juvenile handicap hurdle with his Band Of Outlaws expected to come out on top.
BAND OF OUTLAWS – 7-1 with bet365 (nrnb) 4.50pm Cheltenham Wednesday 13th March.
The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered as the Fred Winter) was introduced into the festival in 2005 as an alternative for Triumph Hurdle horses who would possibly fail to make the cut for the oversubscribed juvenile Grade 1 contest, giving them an opportunity to run at the festival, albeit in a handicap. Young Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien is responsible for what many regard as one of the bankers of the meeting in Triumph Hurdle favourite Sir Erec so with his stable having plenty of talent in this department the handler will aim several of his juveniles at Wednesday’s handicap in an effort to win both contests.
GARDENS OF BABYLON – 12-1 with William Hill.
Possible top weight if taking chance and fine second to stablemate Sir Erec in Leopardstown Grade 1 last time but trainer has stated that Triumph Hurdle is the more likely target.
FINE BRUNELLO – 12-1 with Betvictor (nrnb).
A distant second to the stable’s Fakir D’oudairies at Cheltenham Festival, form which could turn out to very good as had some decent juveniles behind including the highly-rated Adjali. A likely runner but done no favours by the handicap.
KONITHO – 14-1 with Coral (nrnb).
Impressive debut victory for O’Brien in Naas maiden but disappointed as 11-10 favourite behind stable companion Band Of Outlaws at that course on most recent start. Too early to write off but questions to answer.
BAND OF OUTLAWS – 7-1 with bet365 (nrnb)
Will probably go for the Fred Winter according to connections. This 93-rated Flat handicapper has improved with each of his three runs over hurdles, the most recent when turning the tables on debut conqueror Maze Runner at Naas. Off a mark of 139 the son of Fast Company looks the stable’s likely first-string and must go close.
Should Joseph O’Brien fail to land the prize the pieces are expected to be picked up by Gordon Elliott who has three possible strong contenders in Chief Justice, Surin and Legal Steps. The vote goes to Battle Of Outlaws however who has done little wrong since sent over hurdles.