Vivo looks another to cheer McManus
J P McManus and his wife Noreen had dreams of sharing a Leopardstown hat-trick on Sunday but only that splendid machine of a hunter chaser, Elegant Lord, did his stuff and in such style as to put himself on line to become the first Irish raider ever to win two runnings of the Foxhunters at Cheltenham.
In search of fresh talent for the present campaign, the notable acquisitions that J P made towards the last flat season included Vivo a fine middle distance handicapper who won twice last year for John Oxx after having missed out on the previous year.
Vivo was sent to Christy Roche for "schooling" and he made his debut in the Kerry Spring 4-y-o Maiden Hurdle at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting. The word in the betting ring was he was well fancied and he fluctuated between evens and 6 to 4 before being returned at the longer price.
Given the sort of horse he was on the flat, it was inevitable that Conor O'Dwyer would ride a waiting race and it was only heading to the straight that he got into a challenging position but failed to pick up from there on and finished fourth to Lord Dal.
As he was separated from the winner by Sawa-Id and Cliffs of Dooneen, who between them have already won three races this year, it puts a very satisfactory aspect on the run of Vivo and with that experience under his belt, he could get the better Connies Buck who ran his best race of the season at Fairyhouse when third to Take A Lion.
For the nap I nominate Torvill, trained in Co Waterford by John Kiely and bidding to continue to improve on bumpers race form, figures that to date read 32.
Front-running tactics were adopted with him first time out at Fairyhouse and taking into account that he started at 16 to 1, he did well to be still in front until headed near the furlong pole by the winner We Three.
That was over 2m and when he went up to 2m 4f at Leopardstown totally different riding tactics were invoked and after covering 2m, he was last of the nine starters. Thereafter he continued to improve his position to take the second spot to Sarsfield The Man, a major Irish fancy for the Sun Alliance Hurdle at Cheltenham.
By the way not all punters are focusing their attention solely on this year's meeting. I hear that Paddy Power laid 20 to 1 to two bets of £1,000 each against Florida Pearl winning next year's Tote Gold Cup.
The best class field at Navan comprises the quartet that turns out for the Red Bog Hurdle although none of them ran to their best form last time out.
Cockney Lad appears to be showing the effects of a busy campaign which has involved him in fruitless pursuit of the Champion Hurdle favourite Istabraq on two occasions, an unavailing attempt at 3m and a gruelling victory against Imperial Call. However, this small field should play into his hands and he can justify his market status.
Davenport Banquet is sure to win a maiden hurdle before long, while Tender Situation can keep Arthur Moore in winning vein.
. The possibility of fastish ground at Newbury on Saturday is failing to deter the supporters of Tote Gold trophy favourite Graphic Equaliser (11 to 4 from 100 to 30). It was soft ground when the Arthur Moore-trained gelding won the Ladbroke Hurdle at Leopardstown last month.