He may have been a prohibitive price but State Man got his career back on track with a facile victory at Limerick on Tuesday. The Doctor Dino gelding was travelling well when hitting the deck at the second last at Leopardstown on St Stephen's Day on his Irish debut. Sent to the front by Richard Deegan, he outclassed his rivals in the two miles maiden hurdle and sauntered away between the final two flights to win by a dozen lengths. His jumping was good and, while the five year old possesses the speed for the minimum trip, he should have no trouble staying further. Willie Mullins' gelding therefore has plenty of options at next month's Cheltenham Festival - he is entered in the Sky Bet Supreme and Ballymore Novices' Hurdle but having run three times, he is only eligible for handicaps at the meeting. Therefore don't be surprised if he is given entries in the County Hurdle and Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle on the final day of the Festival. It will be interesting to see what mark he is given. In all likelihood, State Man will be handicapped on his run in France behind Busselton - that rival is now rated 132 over hurdles and 137 over fences for Joseph O'Brien. Whichever race he contests at Cheltenham, the Top 40 warrants plenty of respect because he could be anything.
Just a reminder, the February Update will be emailed to clients on Wednesday morning. The 18 page Update includes two big price suggestions for the Grand National, an analysis of this month's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and a full assessment of the featured horses in One Jump Ahead likely to run at the Cheltenham Festival. There are also eight horses highlighted to look out for during February, including a couple of potentially exciting recruits from France. If you haven't ordered a copy, there is still time - please head to the Publications section. The Update is £6.00.
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