It was another riveting weekend of racing overall, and despite personally hitting the crossbar on Tuesday, I was happy with how a few of mine went.
Recite A Prayer gave me a good spin over at Aintree, and it’s always a thrill over those Grand National fences. He took to the track very well, but unfortunately, he just did not fire at the business end, something he has done a couple of times in his career. I was beaten at the canal turn in truth, and we just went as well as we could after.
He jumped great, though, and that does open plenty of options for him. On a going day, Recite A Prayer could run a huge race over there and be a bit of value with horse racing betting sites.
At a lower level, I was delighted with the run of Fons Vivus at Tramore on Tuesday, trained by a good friend of mine in Padraig Butler. We finished second, but she showed plenty and is one to keep an eye on at her own level. She was good enough to win a bumper and a point-to-point so is good enough to win off 92 and would be worth a look with betting sites in the right race.
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On Sunday, I rode Adamantly Chosen in the Drinmore, and I thought we ran well.
The race was unfolding to my liking, and before the third last, I even took a pull as we were going so well! The ground went against us in the end, and he just could not raise a finishing effort in the heavy going. Adamantly Chosen is bred for better ground, and I would love the spin again on him in a similar Grade One on nicer going.
I think you would be a brave man to write her off in an Irish Champion Hurdle anyway!
The Drinmore felt to me like a good race, and Mighty Potter was particularly good on the day as he showed a serious engine to keep going after a few errors. The ground really suited Gaillard Du Mesnil, who I thought was given a great ride by Paul Townend, so the winner can be marked up.
Away from myself, it was sad to see Honeysuckle lose her unbeaten tag, and Rachael was understandably disappointed after it. When we all sat down later that evening and discussed it; we came to the semi-conclusion that perhaps Honeysuckle might not be at her best on her first run. Ronald Pump was not far away from her in that race before, and it’s more than possible she will just improve for it.
Forgetting Cheltenham for now, I think you would be a brave man to write her off in an Irish Champion Hurdle anyway!
I highlighted in my first blog that Lossiemouth was one to follow, and I was delighted to see her win as she did on her Irish debut. Her work is very decent at home, and it is always nice when they back it up at the track.
We are probably looking at something quite special.
I was surprised when I saw Paul Townend had picked Zarak The Brave, but thinking about it, he must have given him a great feel the time before that, and this only shows how well Lossiemouth did to win so comfortably first time up.
Danny rode her with supreme confidence on the outside, and she won as she wanted. It will take an exceptionally good juvenile to beat her!
In the Royal Bond, I have to say the star of the show was young Michael O’Sullivan, who I thought showed serious character and ability to deliver Marine Nationale as he did. It was a great ride, and he never panicked when he did not jump the last great, and still got up to win. I think the second, Irish Point, is a proper horse, and that race will work out very well.
Every jockey must take their chances when they get them, and Michael took his opportunity with both hands, and I was delighted for him. Barry Connell deserves praise as well, because it can be easy at times to opt for a “bigger” name in a Grade One, but he stood by his jockey.
Facile Vega won on Saturday, and he looks an absolute natural, doesn’t he? Willie Mullins said afterwards “you only see one like him every few years on the gallops” and that says it all for me. We are probably looking at something quite special.
In the UK, I thought Edwardstone was impressive, and the Champion Chase is wide open now after Shishkin’s “no-show.” Energumene is the one to beat in the division, and he is in good form at home ahead of his reappearance in the Hilly Way at Cork on Sunday.
Noble Yeats at Aintree also extremely impressed me, but I cannot say I was overly surprised, as I said he was worth a bet for the Gold Cup at 66/1 in my blog a few weeks ago. He keeps improving and is trained by a genius, so he is definitely a player now anyway.
We are all on weather watch at the weekend as the cold snap looks set to arrive, but I hope Cork goes ahead on Sunday as I am looking forward to two down there.
Firstly, Impervious goes in the Mares Novice Chase, and I cannot wait to be reunited with her at the track. She was brilliant last time in a race that is working out, and chasing will only improve her, I think.
While we do bump into a particularly strong field, including two very good mares from Willie Mullins’ yard in Allegorie De Vassy and Dinoblue, I still would not swap Impervious for anyone else in the division.
Elsewhere on the card, I also ride I Sea The Moon for Barry Fitzgerald, who was unlucky to bump into an improving horse last time. I am also really looking forward to riding this horse, who has mileage left on a mark of 92.