Full Irish has had a great prep for long-held target says Lavelle
European Breeders' Fund Matchbook VIP National Hunt Novices Handicap Hurdle Final (Grade 3) | 2m3f173y | ITV4/RUK
Emma Lavelle is hoping Full Irish can confirm himself a candidate to become a future stable standard bearer by landing the EBF Final.
The six-year-old returns to the track where he made a winning bumper debut in November 2015 and on the back of scoring for the first time over hurdles at Leicester last month, when he made all the running for an emphatic success.
Nicky Henderson, who won the prize four years ago, saddles Gaitway and Phobiaphiliac in a race whose previous winners include As De Mee, Beshabar and Albertas Run.
Lithic carries a 5lb penalty after recording an easy win on Monday, a run that was 12lb better than his previous best effort over hurdles on Racing Post Ratings. In contrast The Mighty Don has been raised a whopping 16lb for his last win at Fakenham.
For a good cause
Another Venture runs for a partnership which supports Maggies, the charity which operates a network of drop-in centres for cancer patients and stands to earn a cut of any prize-money secured by the Kim Bailey challenger.
What they say
Nicky Henderson, trainer of Phobiaphiliac and Gaitway
Phobiaphiliac has top weight which seems a lot to me. He has made the running but he doesn't have to. Gaitway will love the step up in trip but I am just not sure about the ground.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Tintern Theatre
I don't think he has done a lot wrong this season. He has been placed. He is carrying quite of lot of weight. He ran in quite a hot novice hurdle at Ascot last time and has earned a shot at this valuable handicap.
Emma Lavelle, trainer of Full Irish
In an ideal world he would prefer softer ground but it is still going to be tacky and hard work which will probably suit him. It's a good-looking race. He is a nice horse and one we look forward to going chasing with next season. He has had a great preparation and this has been his aim for some time.
Nick Gifford, trainer of The Mighty Don
He has had a bit of a hike for winning a novice hurdle round one of the most idiosyncratic courses in the country. The horse he beat was rated 125 so he had to go up but I could have done with 6lb less on his back. He is nice horse who is still green. We have put cheekpieces on to help with his jumping. He should be there or thereabouts.
Gary Moore, trainer of Crystal Lad
The handicapper has killed him for winning last time, putting him up 9lb when he is a fully-exposed horse. He is in good form but it is a big ask.
Kim Bailey, trainer of Another Venture
He has had a good season so far. He has been progressive and he deserves to take his chance in what is a very good race. He runs for charity and if he were to get place the charity would earn quite a lot of money.
Evan Williams, trainer of Prime Venture and Wylde Magic
They are two nice young horses who will be better next year than this year. It's a great prize and I think the track and trip will suit them both.
David Pipe, trainer of Ramses De Teillee
He has been running well and is at the right end of the weights, but still might have a bit to find with some of those nearer the top.