Cheltenham hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Oliver Brady’s Ebadiyan, but the formerly useful flat handicapper looks capable of making an impact there in the 2010 Cheltenham Festival Betting if he is allowed to take his chance in the Coral Cup, writes Elliot Slater.
Last year Ebadiyan was a strong fancy for the Triumph Hurdle where he was still in front and holding every chance when cocking his jaw and running out through the wing at the second last flight. Returning to Prestbury Park in November for a Grade 2 event, the son of Daylami appeared ill suited by the first-time blinkers and faded tamely into a distant fifth behind Khyber Kim and Celestial Halo.
After another below-par effort in Leopardstown’s Christmas Hurdle, Ebadiyan bounced back to form this week with a tremendously gutsy short-head victory over the odds-on Muirhead in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas, a performance that suggested that the Coral Cup trip of two miles and five furlongs would be absolutely ideal for the five-year-old.
After the Naas victory Brady pointed out that his charge still holds entries in the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle, as well as the Coral Cup, which is a handicap event.
By my reckoning, Ebadiyan would surely be out of his depth in the Champion Hurdle, and a doubtful stayer in the World Hurdle. Judging by his style of racing, the Coral Cup looks an event perfectly tailored for the Aga Khan-bred grey, as long as he gets a reasonable racing weight. A combination of stamina, a change of gear and a touch of class are the ideal requirements for the cavalry charge event, and on that basis I believe that Ebadiyan fits the bill perfectly.
I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised to see Brady’s Cheltenham luck change and last year’s Triumph Hurdle sob story turn into this year’s Coral Cup victory. Meanwhile, the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup looks set to be dominated by two horses – Denman and Kauto Star – and no one doubts it will be a great race.