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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Labaik odds-on not to jump off again despite visor and new jockey

Jack Kennedy celebrates on Labaik after winning the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham
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5.30 Punchestown
Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle | Grade 1 | 4yo+ | 2m | RTE/ATR

Labaik, who reverted to old habits when refusing to go with the others before trailing around in rear in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle on Tuesday, will again have racegoers and TV viewers focusing on his antics in today's BetdaqQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

Betfair are offering a Labaik starter insurance bet of 7-1 about the Gordon Elliott-trained grey, who was on his best behaviour when landing the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham last month. All bets will be void if Labaik, who wears a first-time visor and has a new jockey in Davy Russell, refuses to race.

The same firm go 8-13 that the six-year-old will not jump off with the rest of the field and 6-5 that he will.

Labaik plants himself and Jack Kennedy at the start at Punchestown on Tuesday

Speaking on Thursday, trainer Gordon Elliott said: "We're trying something new – a visor and a change of jockey. It's not that Jack [Kennedy] has done anything wrong on the horse, but we decided we had to try something different.

"Hopefully, it'll work, but you just never know. If he goes with them he could run a big race, even if he's stepping out of novice company. He seems fine since Tuesday."

Elliott is also represented by Tombstone, of whom he said: "His recent runs have been disappointing but he seems in good order and we're letting him take his chance."

Pros Very talented and a good winner of the Supreme Novices' at Cheltenham last month. Facing a big test, even if he does behave at the start

Cons One major one – his antics at the start, shown most recently on Tuesday when he refused to set off in a Grade 1 novice hurdle.

We're trying something new – a visor and a change of jockey

Key data

Labaik Tombstone
E.W. Terms
Sky bet