Joseph O’Brien’s Ivanovich Gorbatov bids to book Cheltenham place

Joseph O’Brien is keen to see how Ivanovich Gorbatov performs at Leopardstown today before committing to the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Joseph O’Brien’s Ivanovich Gorbatov bids to book Cheltenham place

Although officially trained by the two-time champion Flat jockey’s father, Aidan, the master of Ballydoyle was keen to pass credit to his son after the four-year-old made a most impressive start to his jumping career at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

He is already the hot favourite for next month’s juvenile championship at Prestbury Park and is odds-on to see off seven rivals when he steps up to Grade One level for the Spring Juvenile Hurdle.

“It’s a big step up for him, obviously, but he was good in Leopardstown the last day,” said O’Brien junior. “He’s been in good form since, so we’ll see what happens before we think about Cheltenham.

“At the moment the ground isn’t too bad, but I think we’re forecast a bit of rain, so we’ll see what happens.

“The ground was quite testing at Christmas and he handled that, but I think he’ll be better on nicer ground.”

Best Kept Secret also runs for the O’Brien-McManus combination.

Ivanovich Gorbatov is reopposed by both Lagostovegas and the runner-up over the festive period, Let’s Dance.

The latter is one of three runners for Willie Mullins, with the champion trainer also represented by Fairyhouse scorer Allblak Des Places and Footpad, a dual winner at Gowran Park.

Gavin Cromwell’s Jer’s Girl and the Colin Kidd-trained Rashaan, who were second and fifth respectively in the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle in December, complete the field.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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