Betfair Ambassador Joseph O'Brien kicks off his festive season runners with chances at both Leopardstown and Limerick on St Stephen's Day...
"His jumping was particularly pleasing and that experience should stand to him. He's entitled to go very close."
- Joseph O'Brien on Palm Beach
Hard to be confident but hopefully we can get closer to Zanahiyr
Busselton is a lovely horse that joined us from France earlier this year. He won over hurdles back in May and while it is difficult to weigh up the level of that form relative to the Irish juvenile hurdles, that experience will stand to him. It's hard to be confident, but hopefully he'll measure up well on his Irish debut.
Druid's Altar was well put in his place by Zanahiyr at Fairyhouse last time, though he probably did a little bit too much too soon in front. He's better than he showed there and can hopefully get closer to Zanahiyr this time.
Bumper form offers hope
Watch Guard has been a disappointment over hurdles so far, but hopefully the switch to handicap company and the application of first-time blinkers will bring about some improvement in him. His bumper form would give you encouragement that he could improve, but it's hard to be confident in him.
Tough task but he's earned his chance
Embittered has run really well in finish second in both his starts over fences, including when second to Andy Dufresne in a Grade 2 at Navan last time. His jumping let him down ever so slightly over the last couple there, but it has been very good in the main. This is obviously a tough ask for him, but he has earned his shot at it.
Fair mark for Wave but hard to be confident about Moon
A Wave Of The Sea won a maiden chase earlier this season and ran well in a Grade 3 novice chase at Punchestown prior to disappointing in a Grade 2 back at that track. We think his handicap mark is fair, so we'll give him a go and see how he gets on.
Top Moon has been a bit of a disappointment over fences so far. His initial mark over fences is a fair bit higher than what he achieved on the track over fences, so it is hard to be confident in his chance.
Priority is to get good experience and show promise
Collins is a lovely stamp of a horse whose pedigree goes back to some top-class Flat horses such as Montjeu. He shows plenty of ability in his work and we'll be hoping he reproduces that on his debut here. That said, the main thing will be that he has a positive first race experience and shows promise for the future.
Entitled to go very close after pleasing debut
Palm Beach was a useful horse on the Flat when he was trained in Ballydoyle and I was very happy with the start he made for me in a maiden hurdle over this course and distance earlier this month. His jumping was particularly pleasing and that experience should stand to him. He's entitled to go very close.
Suited by the weights
Tower Bridge made a solid return to hurdling when fourth in a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen last time. This shorter trip should be fine for him and the weights of the race give him a fair chance. Hopefully he'll run a good race.
Needs to improve
Crecerelle has only hinted at promise in his two runs over hurdles to date and will need to improve a lot to make a meaningful impact.
Better chaser than hurdler and hopefully he can get involved
We always hoped that Assemble would make up into a better chaser than hurdler and that has already proven to be the case this season. He gave it his best shot against Envoi Allen in the Drinmore last time and there's no shame in finishing second to that one. He can hopefully take another step in the right direction and get involved.
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