‘Girl Power’ could thwart Ivanovich Gorbatov’s Spring plans

Trio of fillies may present a challenge to odds-on shot at Leopardstown on Saturday

Ivanovich Gorbatov faces danger from three top-class fillies in Saturday’s Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO

The gambled-on Triumph Hurdle favourite Ivanovich Gorbatov could have to overcome 'Girl Power' if he is to successfully advertise his Cheltenham festival claims at Leopardstown on Saturday.

The ex-Ballydoyle horse, who is having his new career over jumps masterminded by Joseph O’Brien, is a heavy odds-on shot for the €85,000 Spring Juvenile Hurdle, the first of four Grade 1 races on the card.

But as well as possibly having to again face Let's Dance, odds-on herself when beaten by Ivanovich Gorbatov on their jumping debuts at Christmas, the JP McManus-owned horse is also set to clash with another Willie Mullins filly in Apple's Jade, winner of the St Stephen's Day Grade 2 at Leopardstown, as well as Jer's Girl, beaten a head in that race.

The trio are rated the dangers to Ivanovich Gorbatov by bookmakers, ahead of a contest which threw up the subsequent Triumph Hurdle hero Our Conor in 2013.

READ MORE

Market leader

The McManus runner is a general 3-1 market leader for Cheltenham and jockey

Barry Geraghty

is eagerly anticipating teaming up with the horse again.

“He was very good on his first run, very professional, and hopefully he should have improved for that. He seemed to cope with the ground OK too, but should go on better ground as well,” Geraghty said.

In other news, the former star cross-country horse, Risk Of Thunder, who raced in the colours of Sean Connery for some of his career, has died at the age of 27.

Retired in 2002, the Enda Bolger-trained runner won the La Touche Cup over the banks at Punchestown's festival on seven occasions and has been credited with re-energising interest in the cross-country discipline.

Last winner

Bolger also rode Risk Of Thunder to many of his successes and said: “He was very special. Myself,

Philip Fenton

,

Ken Whelan

and JT McNamara all agree he was the best banks jumper any of us ever sat on. He was my last winner as I retired after the 1999 La Touche.”

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column