PUNTERS could not stop watching the replay of Iroko's simply awesome debut over fences.
Owned by JP McManus and already a Cheltenham Festival winner having claimed the Martin Pipe, he looked an absolute weapon in a 2m4f race at Warwick on Tuesday.
He smashed Paul Nicholls' Grade 2-winning hurdler Golden Son on the bridle under a motionless Jonjo O'Neill Jnr. and in the words of one of his trainers, was 'foot-perfect' over obstacles.
Punters who got on quickly were able to gobble up the 7-4 – but seconds after he finished the problems started piling up.
That's because the hose looks so good and is so versatile, he currently has three races he could line up in at next March's Festival.
It's a wonderful problem to have for owner JP McManus and trainers Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero.
But it's a nightmare for punters looking to get the best price they can ante-post for one of the big ones.
Following the race Iroko was trimmed from 25-1 into 14-1 by Sky Bet for the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, although this was later clipped to 10s.
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While the same firm went 10-1 for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the same meeting, with the National Hunt Chase a 12-1 shout.
However, connections believe he has plenty of speed as well so there are still options over two miles.
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AP McCoy was at Warwick to take in Iroko's chasing debut and he let slip a potential target to Greenall.
The trainer said: "AP was just saying if it was soft ground at Sandown, you could even go back to two miles for the Henry VIII.
"You could go two-and-a-half in the Dipper (at Cheltenham), or if Kempton on Boxing Day was nice ground, you could go back up to three miles for the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.
"There’s a few races for him, so we’ll just see how he is and what the ground is like nearer the time.
"We’ve not really made any plans, we’ll just speak to AP and JP and see, but I think it will be ground dependent whether we go up or down in trip."
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