Jacobs column: Mullins seeks to wrap up Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown

By Paul Jacobs

Following a fabulous start, punting wise, to the National Hunt season, I had an October/November lull which I haven’t experienced in 25 years of professional tipping.

Still, things have steadily turned around in the last month or so and I am on a roll near the top of the Racing Post NAPS table so let’s see if we can push on into 2017.

The first major race of this month’s edition will be the Irish Champion Hurdle on January 29th and shock, horror; Mr Mullins has seven of the 10 entries for this grade one event.

The problem is there is so very little news coming out of Closutton at the moment that it is impossible to have an ante-post bet on any of his charges particularly in this category.

What I have heard is that Annie Power will most likely go for the Mares’ Hurdle and Faugheen will run here if he is ready to do himself justice. It is worth remembering that both horses are nine-year-olds and their time could have come and gone as far as the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle is concerned.

For those reasons I have already backed two horses in the ante-post markets in the form of the rapidly progressive BRAIN POWER and as an insurance YORKHILL.

The last named, as per my last article, will most likely run in the JLT, but I think he is worth some insurance in the Champion Hurdle in what could be a fallow year for the race. Willie could readily switch him and at around 16/1 you don’t need an awful lot on to make a killing.

I know that Brain Power really excites Nicky Henderson and after being quoted as high as 40/1 following his Ascot win, his odds have tumbled to  a top price of 16/1.

Henderson told me after Ascot, with a Cheshire Cat grin on his face: “Yes, he’s a fine prospect and I’m hoping there is plenty more to come.”

Well, it could be that the prospect becomes a player in this year’s event and take it from me he has a huge engine and is a massive talent. If Faugheen doesn’t make it to the start line and Annie Power takes a different route I would expect this son of Kalanisi to start at single figure odds for the Tuesday feature.

Winter time equals all-weather racing and let’s hope that it’s only a matter of time before the major high street bookmakers take up the Racing Partnership Arc deal so we can see racing live rather than hear some second rate unofficial off tube commentaries.

Don’t get me wrong, the broadcasters relaying the action are doing a fine job in the circumstances, but it’s not as easy as it sounds and there is no substitute for live pictures.

Talking of low level A/W racing put these notebook horses into your black book for the next few weeks:-

1/ BAPAK BANGSAWAN – dangerously well handicapped and was heavily punted two outings back on the Fibresand, showing up well before fading close home.

2/ EVIDENT – Down to a career low mark and will certainly be suited by a drop back to six furlongs.

3/ FLECKERL – Six furlongs was way too sharp last time and I am waiting for him to run over seven at Lingfield.

4/ CITY OF ANGKOR WAT – Race not run to suit on the last few occasions. A fast run 6f at Wolverhampton when he is buried away in mid-div is his port of call.

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