Rhinestone Cowboy is unlikely to turn out for tomorrow’s Emo Oil Champion Hurdle at Punchestown after a brilliant victory there today.
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained eight-year-old slammed his stable companion Iris’s Gift by seven lengths in the Ballymore Properties Champion Stayers Hurdle at the Irish track, his first try at three miles.
Should he switch back to two miles tomorrow he would have to take on the last two winners of the Smurfit Champion Hurdle, Hardy Eustace and Rooster Booster.
“We will see how he is in the morning and if he’s flying we may have a look. I’m not ruling it out but I would probably say not,” he said.
Even without Rhinestone Cowboy, O'Neill would still be double-handed with recent impressive Sandown scorer Hasty Prince and Quazar among the 11 horses in tomorrow’s €98,000 contest.
“They are both in great form,” he said.
“Quazar has lost his way a little bit this year and it will be hard for him, but Hasty Prince ran well at Sandown last week and we have to come here because it’s the last thing for him really.”
Irish bookmakers Paddy Power have left Rhinestone Cowboy out of their betting for tomorrow’s Grade One contest.
They make Rooster Booster and Hardy Eustace 9-4 joint favourites.
Emo Oil Champion Hurdle, Paddy Power bet: 9-4 Rooster Booster, Hardy Eustace, 6-1 Hasty Prince, 7-1 Georges Girl, 9-1 Solerina, 14-1 Harchibald, 14-1 Fota Island, 20-1 Scarthy Lad, Quazar, 40-1 Roscoff.