We have always thought plenty of Officer Hoolihan and, though he was a dual winner over hurdles last season, fences looked sure to bring out the best in him.
We were therefore hopeful of a big run on his chasing debut at Huntingdon yesterday and he didn’t disappoint, jumping beautifully under an excellent ride from Tom O’Brien and, after jumping to the front at the second last, he drew clear to win by an eased-down seven lengths in a good time.
It was a very impressive performance and I really hope he can build on this next time, as he has the potential to rate a good bit higher over fences and is an exciting novice.
We’ll see what the handicapper does before deciding where to go next, but we’ll be looking for another novice handicap next time. I am delighted for his owner Robert Kirkland, who has some lovely prospects for the season ahead, notably last year’s Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle third Debece, who is set to make his reappearance next month.