O’Brien outlines Christmas plans for Triumph Hurdle hopes
Joseph O’Brien is hoping to unleash two more top recruits from the Flat over Christmas as he attempts to tighten his grip on the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
St Leger third Housesofparliament and Royal Ascot winner Sword Fighter could both make their hurdling debuts while stablemate Landofhopeandglory, 6-1 joint-favourite for the Triumph, is on course for the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Monday.
Sword Fighter, winner of the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot and rated 110 on the level, could take on Housesofparliament in a three-year-old maiden hurdle at the meeting on Tuesday.
O'Brien said: “A good few of ours have plenty of entries and it will depend on what the ground is like before we decide what runs or not.
“Sword Fighter and Housesofparliament are entered at Leopardstown and would probably start off there – and we could run them against each other."
Of Landofhopeandglory O’Brien added: “He seems to be in good form since his Grade 3 win at Fairyhouse last month and he's done everything we've asked of him.
“The ground's a bit of an unknown for him so that’s the only question mark.
“I wouldn’t mind soft ground for him but if it becomes really heavy winter ground I wouldn’t be so sure how he'd handle it.”
BoyleSports make O’Brien a 9-2 chance to win the Triumph Hurdle, but the rookie trainer would not be drawn into comparing his young hurdlers at this early stage.
O'Brien, who runs last season's Triumph winner Ivanovich Gorbatov in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown a week today, said: “They would never work or do anything together at home so it's hard to measure the juveniles who haven't run over hurdles yet against Landofhopeandglory. There's only one way of finding out and that's on the track.”
Bhutan, a 25-1 shot for the Triumph, is unlikely to make his hurdling debut until the new year.
O'Brien said: “Bhutan's a little bit behind the rest of the juveniles but he's in good form and could possibly start off his hurdling career in the new year rather than at Leopardstown.”