Gordon Elliott’s lightly-raced Noble Endeavor can land the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown this afternoon.
He showed nothing on his debut at Navan, but then popped up at 25-1 on his second outing in a bumper at Leopardstown at Christmas, beating the subsequent winner, Windsor Park, by three lengths.
The selection followed by running over flights at Fairyhouse last month, finishing fourth in the contest won by Waxies Dargle.
The form has been working out quite nicely, with Daneking, second, scoring at Navan on Sunday, while the fourth, Le Vent D’Antan only gave best to Sea Beat at Naas.
The big plus for Noble Endeavor, however, is the two and a half mile trip. The Fairyhouse contest was over two miles and he appeared to be crying out for further.
Only six are set to face the starter in the Bumper, but it is a fascinating little contest all off the same.
Henry de Bromhead introduces an interesting newcomer in the Presenting gelding, Motown Bob, but it may pay to concentrate on the two with experience, Flight Plan and What Lies Ahead.
Flight Plan caught the eye when fifth to Sea Beat over hurdles at Naas and has to be respected. Preference, though, is for Willie McCreery’s What Lies Ahead, beaten half a length into second by Willie Mullins’ newcomer, Aminabad, at Leopardstown.
What Lies Ahead seemed to race a bit too freely in the early stages and was also caught out wide for the most part. The fact she finished to some effect was to her credit.
The punchestown.com Mares Hurdle is tricky, with the nod falling on Mullins’ Urticaire.
The French recruit made a fine start in Ireland, scoring at Navan, but was none too clever at the second last when finishing a well-beaten fifth behind Theatre Bird in a Grade 3 at Leopardstown. She should surely be all the better for a break of 52 days.
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