Pandorama new great green hope

Between the worldly temptations of the Scoop6, on the one hand, and another Kauto Star trauma for idealists, on the other, the sport was rather too distracted over the weekend to register the emergence of a genuine new sensation in Ireland.

But there already seems little doubt that Pandorama, if he is not careful, will find himself bearing the Irish standard at Cheltenham in March. His trainer, Noel Meade, has had some atrocious luck at the Festival over the years, but perhaps he is finally going to have the last laugh. Winner of two bumpers by an aggregate of 36 lengths, Pandorama had cruised home in a maiden hurdle at Navan earlier in the month, and on Sunday returned to the same track to produce one of the most extraordinary exhibitions anyone present could remember by a young jumper. It was not just the manner of his success, which was again outrageous; it was the fact that, this time, he was up again some extremely competent rivals. Alpha Ridge, for instance, had won his last three starts, his latest one by 25 lengths. But while he finished a distance clear of the third, Alpha Ridge could not live with Pandorama, who eased past him three out and drew 26 lengths clear at his leisure.

In fact, the only concern at this stage might be that Pandorama is doing everything too easily, and learning little for the championship tests that beckon in the new year. "But he ran in a couple of points last year, and his jumping seems pretty good really," Meade said yesterday. "He did make one mistake, when he launched himself at the third last, but otherwise he was very good. He's a very big horse, and basically he's going to be a chaser in time. In fact, we were contemplating going straight over fences with him, after his bumpers, just as Willie Mullins did with Florida Pearl. But we decided to give him one go over hurdles, to see how he got on, and he was so good that we had to keep going."

After Sunday's race Meade had been candidly awed. "Wow, that would keep you dreaming!" he exclaimed. But he did warn that the horse might not be so effective on fast ground, which presumably might become an issue at some of the spring carnivals.

For now Pandorama is as short as 4-1 favourite with Blue Square for the Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, though Coral still offer 7-1. "Obviously I'm hoping the ground will be all right in March," Meade said. "He did win on goodish ground at Fairyhouse, and though I'm sure he's better on soft, that's basically on the principle that he stays very well."

His next date is back at Navan on 14 December – for a race Meade won, two years ago, with another great green hope in Aran Concerto. Sadly that horse disappeared with leg trouble at the end of the same season, and only reappeared at Navan, in a novice chase, on the day Pandorama won his maiden hurdle.

Jumping safely, Aran Concerto won comfortably but passed a bigger test the next morning when Meade was relieved to find his legs cool. A top-class performance is likely to be necessary at Fairyhouse on Sunday, however, with Forpadydeplasterer, Tranquil Sea and Breedsbreeze among those converging on the Bar-One Drinmore Chase. "Aran Concerto did get a bit tired at Navan, but he jumped well," Meade said. "He'll work in the morning and if I'm happy with him he'll run on Sunday." Meade also had tidings of another frustrated talent in Nicanor, still the only horse ever to have beaten Denman. "We did have him nearly ready to run, but then he banged a shin," he explained. "So we've had to wait with him, again. He's swimming at the moment but I hope he'll be back cantering in a fortnight, so hopefully he'll be out after Christmas."

Denman's is, of course, the latest name engraved on the roll of honour for the Hennessy Gold Cup, at Newbury on Saturday. His trainer, Paul Nicholls, left four in the race yesterday, identifying the ante-post favourite, Big Buck's, and the Munster National winner, Dear Villez, as the pick.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?