The Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle (formerly the Slaney Novice Hurdle) at 13:50 Sunday 8th January 2017, is a Grade-1 hurdle run at Naas over 2-miles and 4-fulrongs.
It has been won by some interesting horses in recent years, including Bellshill and Monksland, as well as the 2016 Grand National winner Rule The World who won it in 2013.
Willie Mullins has dominated the event in recent years with 5 wins in the last 7 renewals, 3 of which were ridden by Ruby Walsh, whilst Noel Meade has also trained two winners in the last decade. The last 10 winners have all been aged between 5 and 7, with6 of the last 10 winners being aged six. Meanwhile, SP’s have ranged from 1/3 to 33/1.
6-runners are set to go to post for the 2017 Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle.
Bel Ami De Sivola
This Noel Meade trained 6-year-old won a bumper, a maiden hurdle and a novice hurdle at the end of 2016, and the horse he beat last-time has won gain since. However, that form still leaves him with something to find on ratings with a few of these, and has to prove he handles this softer ground.
Blood Crazed Tiger
Racked-up a hat-trick of hurdle wins this season on better ground, though has won a bumper on soft. However, the form of those wins hasn’t been boosted by the runner-up, and looks the Gordon Elliott second-string on ratings and form.
Looked a horse of immense promise in winning a grade-3 and a grade-2 on his last two starts, and pulled clear of 3 horses who had won their previous races last time. Those wins were also on ground with soft in the going description, and he looks ideally suited to the 2½ mile trip. Trainer Gordon Elliott may not be training too many winners at the moment, but he still seems to be hitting his target races.
Looks the Willie Mullins second string on jockey bookings, and this one has around 10-lengths to make up on Death Duty on a line through Monalee who beat Turcagua at Punchestown last year, but was 7-lengths behind Death Duty last time.
Stand Up And Fight
Only had three runs, so could improve, but needs to judged on his 8-length defeat by Death Duty at Navan in November. He was also getting 4lb that day, but only get s 3lb here.
Highly tried in Bumpers last year when she won 3, and was 7th at the Cheltenham Festival and 2nd at Aintree before winning at the Punchestown Festival. That was only a mare’s bumper though, and the placed horses have done little for the form over hurdles since. Proven on soft ground and over further though.
2017 Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle Summary
There’s always a temptation to try and find a chink in the armour of an odds-on favourite, especially when the represented stables of Willie Mullins and Noel Meade have such good records in the race. However, Death Duty has looked very impressive so far this season, and holds Turcagua on collateral form. Augusta Kate does get 7lb from the favourite and, with soft ground form and stamina proven, she may provide the biggest danger – though her overall form suggests she has a bit to find to trouble the favourite.
2017 Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle Tip
Death Duty @ 8/15 (Various Bookies)