Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle
|Grade 1, Leopardstown 13:55
3m, Class 1
|Monday 28th December 2015|
1 Prince Of Scars 10/1
2 Alpha Des Obeaux 2/1
3 Martello Tower 7/2
5 ran Distances: 4l, 5½l, 2l
TIME 6m 22.20s (slow by 43.20s)
Prince of Scars causes a minor upset as Arctic Fire is extinguished
Prince Of Scars bounded into the Ladbrokes World Hurdle picture after he got the better of fellow Gigginstown runner Alpha Des Obeaux.
Gordon Elliott's five-year-old is now available at around the 14-1 mark for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece in March as he clinically brought up a hat-trick under Davy Russell.
With Arctic Fire seemingly failing to stay three miles - he was last of the four horses that completed - Prince Of Scars (14-1) looked the winner a long way out and was too good for the Mouse Morris-trained Alpha Des Obeaux, who went down by four lengths.
Alpha Des Obeaux was left in front by the early fall of Snow Falcon, while Martello Tower made a race of it for a good way until the former fought him off rounding the turn.
Prince Of Scars was cruising in behind, though, and was angled out approaching the last, eventually winning in decisive fashion.
Arctic Fire travelled strongly in last but was pushed along half a mile out and was never a factor. The six-year-old is declared for the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown on Tuesday, but trainer Willie Mullins confirmed he will not run.
Eddie O'Leary, racing manager for Gigginstown House Stud, said of the first two home: "Alpha Des Obeaux is a very good horse and Prince Of Scars will be a very good horse, but he's just a big shell of a horse. He'll be raw for two or three more years but that shows he's going the right way.
"He was bought as a chaser so to be this good as a hurdler is great. He'll go down the World Hurdle route, as will the second - it just didn't suit him today."
Elliott, though, is not quite as keen to send him to Cheltenham for the World Hurdle.
He said: "He's a big, massive horse and when he jumps a fence I'd say he'll come into his own. I thought we would come here, run a nice race and then go to Gowran for the Galmoy. I don't know where we'll go now.
"I'm not sure if he'd be a stayers' horse on ground a bit drier. We'll think about it (World Hurdle) but we might save him for next year. Whatever he does he'll make a smashing chaser."
The Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle
3m , Race Value: €85,000, Grade 1
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Prince Of Scars (IRE) 10/1||D N Russell
|2nd||4||Alpha Des Obeaux (FR) 2/1||B J Cooper
|M F Morris||5|
|3rd||5½||Martello Tower (IRE) 7/2||A P Heskin
|Ms M Mullins||7|
|4th||2||Arctic Fire (GER) 5/4f||R Walsh
|W P Mullins||6|
|F||Snow Falcon (IRE) 22/1||S W Flanagan