Shark Hanlon on Hidden Cyclone: “The old boy is in great form”
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tony O’Hehir 9:42AM 12 OCT 2016
HIDDEN CYCLONE has enjoyed a fine year and trainer Shark Hanlon is hoping his stable star will deliver win number 16 of his career by landing this seven-runner event.
The 11-year-old produced the best performance of his hurdling career at the Galway festival in July when he ran Clondaw Warrior to half a length in the Galway Hurdle. Since then he has won a conditions hurdle at Listowel and finished second on the Flat at the same course.
Hanlon said: “The old boy is in great form and showing no signs of his age. I just hope we’ll have genuine good ground as he wouldn’t want it too quick.
“He has to have a good chance, but it’s a tidy race with a few other good horses against him. They’re claiming 7lb off two of them – The Game Changer and Plinth – and Ruby [Walsh] is on Bentelimar, who ran very well at Tipperary last time.”
The Game Changer, the mount of Cian Collins, is another versatile performer who is reverting from fences for his first start over hurdles since the 2015 Galway Hurdle.
“He’s in good order and good ground will be ideal,” said trainer Gordon Elliott of the three-time hurdles winner.
Shay Barry, trainer of Bentelimar, said: “It will probably be his last run over hurdles. We were planning to go chasing with him straight away, but he ran so well when second in the Istabraq Hurdle that we decided to take in this race before sending him over fences.
“He’s in good form and loves Punchestown, so hopefully he’ll go well.”
The Joseph O’Brien-trained Plinth, three places behind Bentelimar at Tipperary, is a seven-time winner over hurdles and has scored at Grade 2 level, while Rashaan, who finished sixth in the Irish Cesarewitch on Sunday, Time For Mabel, another three-time winner over hurdles reverting from the Flat, and Carpet Elegance complete the line-up.