Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Former Ballydoyle ace Cook Islands out to emulate Festival winning stablemate Ivanovich Gorbatov

Joseph O’Brien's Cook Islands will need to defy young age as he lines up in a tricky novice hurdle at Roscommon (6:10) this evening.

He continues his journey towards the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, where he hopes to follow in the steps of stablemate Ivanovich Gorbatov who was victorious at the Cheltenham Festival at the same age.

The four-year-old won impressively on his only start over hurdles, winning a very competitive Punchestown maiden in good style.

His flat form is encouraging , he enjoyed one success when at Ballydoyle but ran well in pattern events such as the Dee Stakes.

With conditions an optimum he’s set to improve from the outing, however his close rivals in the betting are three years older than him.

Ivanovich Gorbatov and Barry Gerahty celebrate after beating Apple's Jade to the Grade One Triumph Hurdle in 2016.

The Triumph Hurdle could be his main target, which Ivanovich Gorbatov won two years ago.

The trainer rode him to maiden victory, before training him to Triumph Hurdle success just a year later.

The JP McManus-owned star was last seen finishing sixth in the County Hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.

Willie Mullins’ Robin Des Foret looks to be his biggest danger in the betting, the seven-year-old has won his last three starts for the County Carlow trainer.

He enjoyed the step-up in trip at Kilbeggan last time, but may not get optimum quick ground.

“The ground and track will be fine but he is not particulary well suited by the race conditions,” said Mullins to his website.

“He is dropping back in trip having won over 3m1f last time but he seems versatile enough.

“He has been in good form at home and should go very well.”

Gordon Elliott is represented by Dorans Rover, who was last seen finishing second at Ballinrobe last time out.

Cook Islands is estimated as a 3/1 shot to take the novice contest, whilst Robin Des Foret is a 9/4 favourite at the Connacht track.

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