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
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Apprentice Telesales & Marketing Opportunities

£10400 - £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £38,000

£22000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role is a mixture of office...

Recruitment Genius: Web Hosting Support Agent

£17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Health & Safety Support Tutor

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests