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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Manchester United's kit for the 2014/15 season
football
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
peopleNobel laureate was a powerful anti-Apartheid voice
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Comms / Digital Marketing Specialist

Not Specified: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role exists for a...

Search Engine Optimisation/ SEO Executive

£25000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Excellent opportun...

Junior Professional Services Consultant - SQL, Implementation

£30000 - £40000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading prov...

Electronics Design Engineer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: My client are l...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor