Cooper opts for Avenir as De Bromhead holds pair of aces
Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle | Grade 1 | 2m | RTE1/ATR
Henry de Bromhead has seldom had a stronger hand in a Grade 1. He hold two aces in Peace News and Avenir D'Une Vie and will be disappointed if he cannot scoop the pot with one of them.
Bryan Cooper has opted for Avenir D'Une Vie, a surprise to many given Peace News was favourite with a lot of firms for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle before his crashing fall at the second-last in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse when still in contention, but the way the six-year-old opened his account for De Bromhead at Fairyhouse was very easy on the eye and the man on board was impressed.
Avenir D'Une Vie was one of the 60 Gigginstown-owned horses who left Willie Mullins' stable in late September and he could turn out to be one of the most valuable. A two-time bumper winner beaten only seven lengths in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, this should tell us whether he is top class.
Peace News, like Avenir D'Une Vie, was also with Mullins but never ran for him. He won a hot maiden hurdle at Cork on his debut for De Bromhead and it is too soon to write him off for the Supreme, even if Cooper has overlooked him here.
Mullins won this last year with Long Dog, his first winner in the race since Hurricane Fly beat Go Native in 2008, and he is doubly represented with Saturnas and Riven Light, the last-named a winner of his sole start in Ireland at Thurles and the choice of Ruby Walsh.
Like with Cooper, it cannot have been easy for Walsh to swerve Saturnas since he has a second placing in a Grade 1 the aforementioned Royal Bond, on his CV.
Gigginstown have half of the eight runners with Lion In His Heart and the Noel Meade-trained Le Martalin completing their quartet.
Gordon Elliott, who has yet to win this Grade 1, relies on Navan maiden hurdle winner Brelade.
What they say
Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Avenir D'Une Vie, Lion In His Heart and Peace News
Avenir D'Une Vie is Bryan Cooper's choice. It was a tricky call but you can see where he's coming from. He works really well at home, is a dual bumper winner and couldn't have won his maiden hurdle any easier at Fairyhouse. We've been very happy with him since as well. Peace News seems none the worse for his spill at Fairyhouse. Bryan thought he was only getting going when he came down and hopefully can get back on track. Lion In His Heart was disappointing last time and looks like he has it all to do.
Noel Meade, trainer of Le Martalin
We could have gone for the race at Limerick but I didn't want to run him on such bad ground. We could have waited for Naas early next month too, but in the end we've ended up here and I think he'll run well. He ran quite well at Fairyhouse.
Jessica Harrington, trainer of Sunni May
He's done well since going over hurdles. We know it's a big step up for him but he won nicely at Punchestown and we thought why not have a go at this.
Gordon Elliott, trainer of Brelade
We're stepping up in class but he's a horse I've always liked. This will tell us a lot more about him. He seems in good form.