Past Winners » Guitar Pete


Ivan Grozny and Plinth have dominated the preamble to this race. Plinth came out on top when they met in a maiden hurdle over today’s course and distance at Christmas despite the fact that he got the final flight all wrong.

Ivan Grozny has since been most impressive in winning his maiden at Naas, ridden a little differently, but it is still difficult to see on form why he is as far clear of Plinth as he is in the market. Plinth should come on for his maiden hurdle win, his first run in a hurdles race, and he did really well to win after making that bad mistake at the last.

However, Guitar Pete is over-priced at 7/1 against the two of them, and I am backing Dessie Hughes’ horse. He is more experienced than the top two, but he has still only raced five times over hurdles, he still has scope to progress.

He was rated just 58 on the flat, he was vastly inferior to the top two in the market on the level, but he has been a different proposition over hurdles so far, just like his stable companion Our Conor is.

Guitar Pete has won three of his five races over hurdles, and finished second in the other two. He was well beaten by Royal Irish Hussar at Cheltenham in November, and his task at Leopardstown last time was made much easier by the fact that Analifet was pulled up injured, but he has improved with every race, and he could improve again today.

Crucially, he handles soft ground well, whereas both Ivan Grozny and Plinth would probably prefer better ground. They had 4mm of rain overnight at Leopardstown, and the hurdles track is softer than the chase track. That should suit Guitar Pete.

Interestingly, a Willie Mullins horse, Diakali, was sent off as favourite for this race last year, when he was beaten by the Dessie Hughes-trained Our Conor, who was only third favourite. It could be a similar story today.