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McManus bolsters Festival squad as Fakir shortens in Supreme market

Jonathan Vine in News 7 Feb 2019
JP McManus (right of horse) poses with Nicky Henderson and AP McCoy at Newbury a few years ago.

JP McManus’s team for next month’s Cheltenham Festival was strengthened on Wednesday 6th February, adding three promising young horses to his powerful stable.

McManus was already the favourite to reclaim the Leading Owner title he has relinquished to Gigginstown Stud in recent years, with runners wearing his famous green and yellow striped silks heading the betting in no less than 10 of the 28 ante-post markets for the Cheltenham Festival. Yet, it seems JP wasn’t sufficiently satisfied with his hand and drew three powerful cards from the deck, just five weeks before “the greatest show on turf”.

Fakir D’Oudairies is the star name on the short list to make the move to McManus’ stable. Joseph O’Brien’s charge announced himself as a Festival contender with a runaway success in the Triumph Trial on Trials Day and JP will be delighted to have such a promising juvenile as part of his team.

O’Brien bunkmate and fellow four-year-old, Konitho impressed during a maiden victory at the Dublin Racing Festival and he was also purchased by JP McManus on Wednesday. As was current Champion Bumper favourite Blue Sari, who cut an impressive figure when cruising to victory on his stable debut for Willie Mullins at Down Royal the previous week.

Buveur D’Air, Champ and Ok Corral look to have excellent chances of helping McManus taste Festival success next month. However, after the Dublin Racing Festival, many experts are pinning Sir Erec as a banker in the Triumph Hurdle, having powered to a serene success in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle. 

O’Brien’s team are certain Sir Erec is the real deal and could even go off as the odds-on favourite for Friday’s opening race. But where would that leave Fakir D’Oudairies?

Well, the answer to that question became a little clearer earlier this week, as Fakir D’Oudairies was slashed significantly in the betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. This was a somewhat unsurprising development. O’Brien and McManus will surely opt to split up their top juveniles and Fakir has previously run against his elders, comfortably seeing off a field of five-year-olds on his stable debut at Cork.

Eight juveniles have previously won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and a repeat of his electrifying display at Cheltenham on Trials’ Day would surely see Fakir D’Oudairies go close. William Hill currently offers top price on O’Brien’s youngster in the Supreme, quoting him as the 8/1 joint-second favourite, while also pushing Sir Erec into 13/8 to win the Triumph Hurdle.

*Current Cheltenham Festival betting with William Hill*
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (12/3/19)
5/1 Angels Breath, 8/1 Klassical Dream, Aramon, Fakir D’Oudairies, 10/1 Al Dancer, Mister Fisher, 12/1 Elixir De Nutz, 14/1 Bar

Triumph Hurdle (15/3/19)
13/8 Sir Erec, 6/1 Fakir D’Oudairies, 12/1 Quel Destin, 14/1 Pic d’Orhy, Tiger Tap Tap, 16/1 Bar

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McManus bolsters Festival squad as Fakir shortens in Supreme market

JP McManus’s team for next month’s Cheltenham Festival was strengthened on Wednesday 6th February, adding three promising young horses to his powerful stable.

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