It might only be October but this is the time of year where the jump racing fans tend to start becoming excited, and for good reason. Although the Cheltenham Festival is still more than five months away, many out there will be starting their ante-post portfolios already. Punchestown Racecourse plays host to a lovely card on Wednesday and Adrian Wall thinks that there’s a potential monster running in the opening maiden hurdle.
Marine Nationale has opened up 1-2 with Paddy Power and Betfair for the opening maiden hurdle and for very good reason. Trainer Barry Connell took the wraps off the son of French Navy in a bumper over course and distance back in May where he beat the highly regarded Demandrivingdouvan. In fact, he made the Gordon Elliott runner look quite ordinary.
He had his second career outing at Killarney in August when running out an 11 length winner of the bumper there on the day, and the second boosted the form by winning at Listowel subsequently. Marine Nationale has plenty of speed and travels through his races very strongly, but he also hits the line hard. The sure sign of a proper Supreme Novices’ Hurdle horse.
It remains to be seen whether he will live up to the hype but he has a good challenger on Wednesday in the form of Santonito, carrying the familiar Pied Piper silks. If he beats that horse decisively, the 25-1 for March will look absolutely huge as bookmakers will be sure to cut him in fear of being stung. Marine Nationale is a hugely exciting horse and if he takes to hurdles the world is his oyster.
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