Alexandre is new Neptune favourite

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: December 16 2012, 14:32 GMT

Pont Alexandre is the new favourite for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle after winning at Navan on Sunday.

Boston Bob (r): Narrow winner at Navan
Boston Bob (r): Narrow winner at Navan

Having his first run for trainer Willie Mullins, Pont Alexandre was a comfortable winner of the Navan Novices' Hurdle and was duly introduced as the Neptune market leader by most firms.

Coral were certainly impressed, going up with 6/1. bet365 were, however, prepared to dangle 10/1, making the horse their co-favourite alongside stablemate Champagne Fever and Clondaw Kaempfer.

Sky Bet's Ian Stables, whose firm introduced the winner at 8/1, described Pont Alexandre's victory as "impressive".

"Pont Alexandre) is clearly now the one to beat at this stage."
Ian Stables, Sky Bet

However, he also had a warning for punters looking to back the horse in the ante-post markets.

Stables said: "He's clearly now the one to beat at this stage, although he's not sure to run against the owner's other fancied runner, Champagne Fever."

Trainer Mullins said the Neptune or the longer Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle would be the Cheltenham Festival target for Pont Alexandre.

He said: "We won't go back in trip.

"He'll probably stay at two and a half and I wouldn't be afraid of three miles. It will either be the Neptune or Albert Bartlett in March."

William Hill went up with a 6/1 quote for the latter race, although to avoid potential target confusion they also offer 6/1 about the horse winning any race at the 2013 Festival.

Don Cossack had been the Neptune favourite before the race but, after being sent off an odds-on favourite, he fell at the final hurdle by which time he already looked beaten.

Gordon Elliott's charge was duly pushed out for the Neptune, Boylesports offerng 16/1. sportingbet and Stan James went out to 20s in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle market.

On the same card, Boston Bob failed to impress the layers despite making a winning start to his chasing career.

Mullins' charge, well fancied for success in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival beforehand, only just managed to hold off You Must Know Me to win by half a length having been sent off at 1/5.

Most layers subsequently lengthened their RSA price - Ladbrokes going all the way out to 10/1 about a horse which finished as a runner-up over hurdles at last season's Festival.

Sky Bet also pushed their price out - from 6s to 7s - and their Ken Dickson explained the thinking.

He said: "Boston Bob was made to work hard for victory on his chase debut.

"He's sure to improve over further but was expected to win today and we would want to see more next time."

However, the traders at the Betfred/totesport stable disagreed with that assessment - they actually trimmed their price fom 8/1 to 7/1.

Stan James give the runner-up a 20/1 quote for the RSA, but Dynaste remains the favourite at a best of 6/1 (Betfred, totesport).