Horses To Follow » Ebadiyan


Ebadiyan looked really good in landing the Grade 3 juvenile hurdle at Punchestown on Monday. So impressive when making all to win his maiden at Naas a week previously, he was stepping up significantly in grade on Monday, taking on Tharawaat (already a Grade 3 winner) and King Of Queens, who had finished second and third in the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle at Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day, and he came through the test with flying colours.

There were a number of things to like about this performance the Oliver Brady-trained gelding. For starters, his jumping was really good in this grade, which was significant for one who was effectively having just his second start over hurdles (he was carried out at the flight past the stands on his hurdling debut at Leopardstown over Christmas). Also, this performance proved that he doesn’t have to lead. After squaring up to Tharawaat in the early throes, John Cullen was happy to allow Davy Russell and Tharawaat stride on. Ebadiyan settled nicely in behind, challenged the leader around the home turn and quickly got on top once they had straightened up, before careering away over the final flight to win easily.

The grey gelding has to be on your shortlist for the Triumph Hurdle now. Trainer Oliver Brady deserves a Cheltenham winner – they may apply for planning permission around the winner’s enclosure now – and this fellow might just be the one to do it for him. Regally bred, as you would expect from an Aga Khan horse, by Daylami out of a daughter of Irish Oaks winner Ebadiyla, Ebadiyan didn’t quite fulfil justified lofty expectations on the flat, but he still won a maiden over a mile and a half at Dundalk and finished second to subsequent Gallinule Stakes winner Hebridean in Gowran Park’s Classic Trial last May. The €18,000 that Rita Shah paid for him at Goffs last October is looking like money that was mighty well spent now.

Interestingly, the Racing Post Rating that Ebadiyan earned for beating Apt Son at Naas was just 2lb lower than the rating that Triumph Hurdle favourite Zaynar earned when he beat Walkon at Newbury just before Christmas. It is also interesting that Ebadiyan got to within three lengths of another big Triumph Hurdle fancy, Starluck, when the pair met over 10 furlongs at Dundalk last March, both of them making their racecourse debuts, when Ebadiyan missed the break and did quite well to finish so close after being rushed up

Rita Shah’s gelding has a lot of the attributes that you look for in a Triumph Hurdle winner. His form is solid. Before Monday, Tharawaat was thought to be the best or the second best juvenile hurdler in Ireland and, although he was trying to give 7lb to Ebadiyan, it is difficult to believe that the result would have been any different even without the weight concession. Ebadiyan was rated 98 on the flat and he is bred for stamina. Nothing seems to faze him, and he races prominently, so there is every chance that he will be able to avoid the hurly burly of a Triumph Hurdle. William Hill cut him to as short as 8/1 for the Triumph, which in itself is big enough in my book (Zaynar is no better than 7/2), so the 14/1 that you can get about him with Ladbrokes, Victor Chandler and Stan James is decidedly generous.

© The Irish Field, 17th January, 2009