Felix Yonger to make class count on return to hurdling

Felix Yonger should successfully revert to hurdling in the Ballsbridge Hurdle in Leopardstown today.

Felix Yonger to make class count on return to hurdling

The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old, runner-up to Simonsig in the Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012, is a three-time winner over fences, but failed to hit the target when competing at the top level in novice company last season.

Beaten by The Paparrazi Kid at Limerick and runner-up to Trifolium in the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown, he filled fourth spot behind Taquin Du Seuil in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham and behind God’s Own in the Grade One Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival.

Beaten by Moscow Mannon at Naas on his seasonal debut back in November, when conceding 9lb to his rival, Felix Yonger has not been seen since winning the Grade Two Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase in Cork in December.

The nine-year-old Oscar gelding pipped Mallowney that day, form boosted by the subsequent exploits of his victim.

Returning after a break, he should prove very tough to beat if translating his chase form to the hurdling discipline, with Western Boy and Golantilla likely to give him most to do.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained Sizing Granite should make it three wins from four starts over fences by landing the Irish Stallion Farms Novice Chase.

The Milan gelding has triumphed twice in Naas, beating subsequent dual Grade One-winning hurdler Lieutenant Colonel on his fencing bow and proving too strong for Fine Rightly and subsequent scorer Blood Cotil last time.

This looks a straight-forward opportunity for Jonathan Burke’s mount.

In Navan tomorrow, Glenquest, just 1lb higher than when finishing third to Emperors Choice in the Welsh National at Chepstow before scoring over hurdles at Down Royal, looks best in the Newgrange Veterans’ Handicap Chase.

And, despite slight reservations about his jumping, Eoin Griffin’s Azorian sets a decent standard in the beginners chase.

Third to Ttebbob over hurdles in Clonmel last time, Bryan Cooper’s mount would look a standout bet if reproducing the performance of his fencing debut, in which he finished third to The Tullow Tank at Fairyhouse back in November.

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