• PlanetF1
  • PlanetRugby
  • LoveRugbyLeague
  • Tennis365
  • TeamTalk
  • Football365
  • PlanetFootball
  • Home
  • Horse Racing
  • Andy Gibson'S Big Race Review: Fallout From The KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle

Andy Gibson's big race review: Fallout from the KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle

Our Grade One National Hunt heroes are about to enjoy a well-earned summer break, allowing racing analyst Andy Gibson to review how four of them ended their campaign at Punchestown recently.

Punchestown 16:15 April 25

KMPG Champion Novice Hurdle (2 miles 100 yards, good/soft)

Just five runners contested this high-profile Grade One renewal, and they were completely stretched out by the time the finishing line arrived.

The closest distance between any of the contenders was the six-length gap between third and fourth, and with Willie Mullins saddling three of them it was no surprise to see the Master of Closutton land an emphatic one-two.
Andy Gibson takes a closer look at each horse's performance:

Facile Vega

Although this winning performance will have cemented the reputation of Facile Vega as one of the leading novice hurdlers of the season, in reality I doubt he achieved very much at all here, after his one rival made two dreadful errors and generally jumped without fluency.
His form this season is very narrow as he has generally competed against a small band of rivals. He has proved too good for the runner-up by broadly similar margins on three occasions and was not as convincing as Vauban had been when beating the same horse last season.
He was beaten by Il Etait Temps in February, but that defeat appears to have had something to do with the jockey, who stated that he has no respect for his hurdles and so he will be trying fences next season.
As good as he has been this season I would suggest he was more convincing as a bumper horse, so it will be interesting to see whether he can reach the heights over the larger obstacles.
On the evidence of this season he is a decent horse and also very beatable. Like a lot of the highly touted sorts from this yard it may be a case of picking our moments to oppose him when he is trading very short.

Il Etait Temps

I suspect that next season's rating of Il Etait Temps will overstate his ability as he has been marked up in comparison with several pieces of form with his stable mate Facile Vega.
He has contested a few races where little else opposed him and the one time he competed in a race with more depth, he was beaten by a similar margin by today's winner and also found three other rivals too good for him.
I would suggest this form is decent without being top class, while his very narrow band of form leads me to keeping an open mind with him next season in handicaps.
Doubtless his trainer will find one or two weakly contested graded races for him through next season. His form this season has been littered with jumping errors rather like Vauban in his juvenile season.
This may well continue to hamper his progress and, at the same time, he is likely to pay his way even if his jumping does not improve.

No Looking Back

This third-place finish in a Grade One race will read a lot better than it deserves. Absolutely nothing finished behind No Looking Back and he never appeared likely to get close to the two leaders.

Found A Fifty

The reputation of Found A Fifty took a huge dent with his poor run at Aintree, although that performance came at a time when many from the yard ran below form and maybe this has some significance.
He had a big reputation and it is more than possible that his connections will regret bringing him out again so soon after his Aintree flop.

READ MORE: Punchestown Champion Novice Chase: Andy Gibson reviews one of the last Grade One races of the season

More Articles