ARVIKA Legeonniere has to be the choice to land the Easter Festival 2010 Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse this afternoon, should the meeting survive a 7.30am inspection due to the threat of a severe overnight frost.
The course was raceable yesterday with the ground described as heavy.
Arvika Legeonniere, an ex-French horse, was a huge disappointment when making his debut in Ireland on this track in early December.
He went off a heavily-backed 2-5 shot to take a bumper, but could only manage a remote fourth behind Al Ferof, having run far too freely for much of the journey.
Willie Mullins then sent him over flights, back at Fairyhouse, last month when Arvika Ligeonniere was again the medium of huge market support.
He went off at what appeared to be a very tight even-money chance, but simply strolled to victory, beating Caduceus by five lengths.
It was a further ten lengths back to the third, Rivage D’Or, and the form got a big boost when Caduceus scored by 13 lengths at Naas last Saturday.
Nicanor gets the vote to record his first success, since scoring at the Punchestown Festival of 2006, in the www.fairyhouseracecourse.ie Beginners Chase.
When he beat Denman in the SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March of that year, Noel Meade’s charge looked a possible Cheltenham Gold Cup winner of the future.
But he never got a chance to fulfil that promise and, after Punchestown, was off the course for nearly three years.
Essentially, Nicanor has struggled since his comeback but there was real hope in his latest performance at Fairyhouse just over three weeks ago.
He was grabbed late and beaten a short head by An Cathaoir Mor and subsequent events have indicated that was an better effort than it looked at the time.
An Cathaoir Mor subsequently stepped up in class to beat Sports Line in fine style in the Grade 1 Arkle Chase at Leopardstown.
Kempes is the obvious danger and should have too much speed for Nicanor over two miles, but was desperately disappointing when failing to justify odds of 1-3 at Thurles on his latest appearance.
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