Racing: Carberry holds key to Harchibald

The bookmakers are somewhat divided on the merits of the Champion Hurdle contenders in action this weekend, but their lists show unanimity in one respect - Irish hurdlers rule the roost. Or rather, only Rooster Booster, the 2003 Champion, has managed to squeeze in as a British representative among the top half dozen quoted for the hurdling crown next March.

The victories of Harchibald at Newcastle on Saturday and Solerina at Fairyhouse yesterday could not have been more different or more emphatic. Harchibald lobbed along in rear before delivering a dazzling burst of speed, while James Bowe's mare ground her rivals down with punishing front-running.

It was the brutal approach that impressed the Tote, whose spokesman, Damian Walker, said: "Solerina was racing over her best trip, but there was a lot to like about this performance. If the ground came up soft at Cheltenham she'd have a serious chance in the Champion."

Ladbrokes' Balthazar Fabricius takes the opposite view: "We're not quoting Solerina for the Champion. We don't think the track or trip will suit and understand it is unlikely she'll run, so punters should hold back. None the less, the Irish have got this race sewn-up. Harchibald has been very popular, including a bet of £5,000 at 7-1."

Paul Carberry's availability will determine the running plans for Harchibald. Noel Meade's rising star is as low as 4-1 favourite for Cheltenham with William Hill after Saturday's facile win. "He was good wasn't he?" Meade said yesterday. "He's going to be entered at Kempton [Christmas Hurdle] and Leopardstown [December Festival Hurdle] but I don't want to run him anywhere without Paul."

If Harchibald runs at Leopardstown he could meet the reigning champion, Hardy Eustace, whose trainer, Dessie Hughes, was pleased to see Harchibald win, saying: "He was only four lengths behind us in Punchestown, so he was entitled to be thereabouts. We'd have been worried if he hadn't been."

Plans centred around leading northern-based jockey Graham Lee are more tentative as he broke his right arm in a fall at Doncaster yesterday. The rider was then kicked as he lay on the ground. A double had earlier taken Lee's total for the season to 62 and he had six good rides booked for Newcastle today.

At Newbury, Joe Tizzard was taken to hospital for an x-ray examination of his right shoulder after a fall in the first race. That meant he missed out on riding two winners in whose preparations he had figured strongly.

Most painful of the pair would have been the Paul Nicholls-trained Cornish Rebel, who took the Grade Two novices' chase under Tony McCoy, despite looking rather uncertain and wandering under pressure on the run-in. "Joe's done all the work on him and it would have been nice for him to have been able to ride him," Nicholls said.

Leighton Aspell deputised for Tizzard on Big Rob in the novices' handicap chase.

Andrew Balding's Phoenix Reach fared best of the British in the Japan Cup in Tokyo yesterday when sixth to Zenno Rob Roy, ridden by Olivier Peslier. Clive Brittain's Warrsan was 15th of 16 runners. Aidan O'Brien's Powerscourt was 10th.

CHAMPION HURDLE (Cheltenham, 15 March 2005) William Hill: 4-1 Harchibald, 6-1 Hardy Eustace, 9-1 Accordian Etoile, 10-1 Rooster Booster, 12-1 Back in Front, 14-1 Brave Inca (from 10-1), Solerina (from 20-1). Ladbrokes: 6-1 Accordion Etoile, Hardy Eustace, (from 7-1) Harchibald, 9-1 Rooster Booster, 14-1 (from 10-1) Brave Inca. Tote: 6-1 (from 8-1) Harchibald, 7-1 Hardy Eustace, 9-1 Accordion Etoile, 10-1 Rooster Booster, Back In Front, 12-1 (from 20-1) Solerina, 14-1 (from 12-1) Brave Inca, Inglis Drever, 20-1 others.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor