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Horse Racing: Breathing Fire fantastic value at outstanding 33-1; PRICEWISE.

Byline: Tom Segal

THIRTY runners around Leop-ardstown's inside track on heavy ground doesn't make for the best betting medium, but we won't be able to stop ourselves getting stuck into the Pierse Hurdle this afternoon, and the two I think need to be backed are View Mount Prince and Breathing Fire.

The case for View Mount Prince is obvious. He's massively on the upgrade, has been trained for the race all season, and has still had only six runs.

Throw in the fact that he's proven at the track, stays very well and has the assistance of Timmy Murphy and he looks a very solid betting proposition indeed at 10-1 with Ladbrokes and VCbet.

The handicappers out there will quite rightly point out his charge up the weights, but I think he had plenty in the locker last time and he has been trained for today, so is unlikely to have been at his peak for his previous wins.

Breathing Fire is simply much too big a price. I reckon he would have been third in last year's Triumph Hurdle, well in front of the likes of Mister Hight and First Row, had he finished the race, and that form has worked out really well.

Being by Pivotal, he should handle the ground and he comes from the Jessica Harrington stable that won the race last season. He comes here in decent heart having chased home a very good horse over a trip too far at Ascot last time.

Of course, he will need luck and he won't get away with any mistakes, but he's normally a very good jumper and his Flat-race speed should enable him to get out of any tight spots.

The 33-1 is just much too big for a horse with his ability and I would expect him to start half those odds - unless he's lost a leg since we last saw him.

There are some differences of opinion in the staying chase, with Vedelle 11-1 with Ladbrokes but only 5-1 with a few others, and Julius 14-1 with Stan James and as low as 7-1 with VCbet.

The easy option would be just to suggest backing those two at the biggest price, but I have doubts about them both and would prefer to back Sound Witness instead.

He has his jumping problems but has hardly put a foot wrong when Davy Russell has ridden him, while the ground will help because he loves the mud. It will slow the others down, meaning his fencing will not be tested as much.

Today's bets

Sound Witness

1.50 Leopardstown

1pt win at 8-1 generally (9-1 with Bet365)

Breathing Fire

2.20 Leopardstown

1pt win at 33-1 with VCbet

View Mount Prince

2.20 Leopardstown

1pt win at 10-1 with Ladbrokes or VCbet
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2007
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