Alpha Des Obeaux can challenge and beat ante post World Hurdle favourite Thistlecrack to give Gigginstown House Stud another Cheltenham Festival winner.
Alpha Des Obeaux has a progressive profile and looks cracking value at 8/1 with a raft of bookmakers, including BetVictor, for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday, March 17th.
The gelding went into many notebooks as a horse to follow when winning his sole start in an Irish point by 20 lengths at Tinahely back in March 2014, in a race run 15 seconds faster than average on the day.
He was purchased by the Gigginstown House Stud after that runaway success and sent to join the shrewd yard of Mouse Morris.
In his first season for the County Tipperrary handler, Alpha Des Obeaux won once and finished runner-up on four occasions.
The six-year-old ran a blinder when chasing home the brilliant Douvan over 2m at Punchestow, and was in the process of running a huge race in a Grade 1 contest over 3m at Aintree on his penultimate start last season when a length down and rallying only to grief at the last in a race eventually won by current World Hurdle market leader Thistlecrack.
The pair were miles clear of the rest when disaster struck, and to the race appeared far from over, so Alpha Des Obeaux would have given the winner plenty to think about had he stayed on his feet.
It was a performance which suggested Alpha Des Obeaux had the scope to make up into a very smart staying hurdler this season, and that view was confirmed when he finished a highly creditable second to Arctic Fire over 2m 4f at Fairyhouse on his reappearance.
Alpha Des Obeaux backed that up with a solid second to Prince Of Scars in the Christmas Hurdle over 3m at Leopardstown, before running out an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park when last seen in action.
Despite connections fears that the very testing ground was against Alpha Des Obeaux, he travelled and jumped supremely well throughout and after taking up the running two from home stretched clear to easily beat At Fishers Cross by 11 lengths.
It was a taking display, and the runner-up is a very useful sort on his day who was beaten 10 1/2 lengths into third behind Cole Harden in last year’s World Hurdle.
That gives the form a solid look, and Alpha Des Obeaux is a big slow maturing type who should have plenty more to offer.
Morris also believes that Alpha Des Obeaux will be seen to best effect on better ground, and he is likely to get that at the Festival.
His run at Aintree last year suggests that there was nothing between him and Thistlecrack (best-price 11/4 with Paddy Power) at the time and, although the winner has clearly improved, Alpha Des Obeaux is also going the right way.
So taking everything into account, and judged on their run at Aintree, should there be such a big price difference between Thistlecrack and Aplha Des Obeaux? Not necessarily.
Alpha Des Obeaux simply has to be where the smart moneys goes on the World Hurdle at the current 8/1 price on offer.