INSIDE TRACK

INSIDE TRACK | If Louth-owned Darver Star shines at Leopardstown, he could be headed for Cheltenham

INSIDE TRACK

Joe Carroll

Reporter:

Joe Carroll

Email:

joebellurgan2014@yahoo.ie

INSIDE TRACK | If Louth-owned Darver Star shines at Leopardstown, he could be headed for Cheltenham

Having traded his wares in the Championship of horse racing, Darver Star is now about to try his luck in the Premiership. And if successful there, it could then be on to the continent, ie Cheltenham.

Having traded his wares in the Championship of horse racing, Darver Star is now about to try his luck in the Premiership. And if successful there, it could then be on to the continent, ie Cheltenham.

Horse racing, along with snooker, card-playing, dog racing and pitch-and-toss, was part of your writer’s misspent youth. Back then Farney Fox, the property of Matt Donnelly, former owner of Derryhale Hotel, which, sadly, is now closed but remaining an imposing building, was the ‘local’ horse. He was a decent sort who ran on the Flat and would have had his name written on several of Lowry Carroll, Hubert Shields, Paul Byrne and Harry Barry’s dockets whenever he went to post.

Darver Star is fast becoming the modern-day Farney Fox. He’s mid-Louth owned and bred, running in the red-and-white colours of Pat Cluskey – who bred the horse – Simon Fagan and Seán Fanning. He runs over hurdles and so far has made a good fist of it, winning five of his 12 races.

Trained by Gavin Cromwell in County Meath, Darver Star has also had a number of places, and it was one of those, his most recent, that really caught the eye. Taking on a right good ‘un in Envoi Allen at Fairyhouse just before Christmas, the Star might really have shone had his path not been blocked turning into the home straight. As it was, he ran on to finish a close-up third behind the odds-on Envoi Allen, who has since scored at Naas.

Now, Darver Star is ready to go to war again, and connections are not going for an easy option. The Irish Champion Hurdle is this country’s most prestigious race run over the smaller obstacles and has some of the greats on its roll of honour, Istabraq, Hurricane Fly and Brave Inca among them. It’s part of this weekend’s two-day Dublin Festival at Leopardstown, and aside from its prestige, has a prizefund of €200,000, the bulk of that going to first past the post.

Unless something unforeseen happens in the meantime, Darver Star will be in the line-up, taking his place alongside the mare, Honeysuckle, who is reckoned to be the best hurdler in this country and the one next to it. Envoi Allen might also be there.

There’ll be a big price available about Darver Star, who despite his owners’ strong GAA connections, takes his name from a local soccer side of former years. The odds, however, don’t in any way diminish the confidence behind the gelding. As they say, he’s working well at home, lashing into his grub, and is likely to have underfoot conditions just as he wants them.

And should he make it home in front, or even fill a place, the near certainty is Darver Star will then be pointed towards the Cotswold Hills, given an entry in the other Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham’s, won last year by trainer Cromwell. Keep an eye out for him – the race is on telly.