Hardy Eustace can confirm Champion form

HARDY EUSTACE is fancied to confirm Cheltenham form with Rooster Booster in this afternoon’s Emo Oil Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

Dessie Hughes’ seven-year-old travelled to Prestbury Park largely unsung and went off a 33-1 chance to land the Smurfit Champion Hurdle.

But, galvanised by the fitting of blinkers for the first time, the selection stepped way up on anything he had achieved previously.

Given a smashing ride by Conor O’Dwyer, Hardy Eustace made practically all the running. Rooster Booster looked sure to swamp him heading to the final flight, but it was the winner who showed far more resolution on the flat, drawing clear to score by an impressive five lengths.

Of course Rooster Booster is now a major danger and you could argue this track may well suit him better than Hardy Eustace.

But he has since met defeat at Aintree, again flattering to deceive, before going down to Rhinestone Cowboy.

Beyond the big two, Hasty Prince is worth a second glance, having scorched home at Sandown recently.

Hardy Eustace, however, to prove that Cheltenham was no fluke is the prediction.

Sadlers Wings can keep his unbeaten record over jumps here at home intact by taking the Menolly Homes Champion Novice Hurdle.

He disappointed in the SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but was back on song at Fairyhouse when cruising to a three and a half lengths victory over Point Barrow.

Mr Shush, beaten four lengths by Red Setter (levels) at Gowran Park, may reverse the placings in the CSL Hospitality Hunter Chase.

Malahide Marina, fourth to Geili Sli, successful here on Wednesday, at Fairyhouse gets the nod in a very competitive looking Kildare Traders’ Bumper.

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