I’m back at Punchestown for their big card on Sunday featuring the Morgiana Hurdle which sees the reappearance of Faugheen.
The obvious place to start is to wish Ruby (Walsh) a speedy recovery after his horrible fall from Let’s Dance. Everyone knows the dangers of being a jump jockey and fingers crossed it is not as serious as it looked and I want him to know that we are all thinking of him.
As for the racing itself, I was thrilled to be amongst the winners with the impressive Mitchouka in the opener and Monalee who jumped really well from the front in the beginners chase.
SANIBEL ISLAND 12.30pm
Hasn’t been showing a great deal recently and this looks competitive. She’s A Star ran well on the flat at Naas on the last day of the season and looks one of the bigger dangers.
I rode him for the first time over fences at Fairyhouse where he jumped well but finished second to Bamako Moriviere. He showed the benefit of that run when winning at Down Royal the last day. Stepping up in class again today and despite the small field this looks competitive with rivals including Brelade who is running well, even though he is a maiden over fences.
PRESENTING PERCY 1.40pm
Had the ideal start to his chasing career when making a winning start at Galway but the form hasn’t worked out particularly well with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th all beaten next time out. Shattered Love could pose the biggest threat with just 10-10 on her back. She has won both her starts over fences.
CAMPEADOR 2.15pm (Morgiana Hurdle)
I ride Campeador for Gordon who would probably need a career best to win this but that all depends on what Faugheen we see back on the track after nearly two years. We’re all looking forward to seeing him back as he is without doubt either the best or one of the best horses in training.
HOLLOW TREE 2.50pm
The last couple of times I’ve ridden him I thought I was going like the winner going to the last couple of flights. He needs to toughen up in his finishes as he keeps finding one too good. I won on Lizzies Champ earlier on in the year, a very impressive horse and could run well despite creeping up the handicap.
A good second in Naas last time and if he settles and runs the same race today should prove hard to beat here over this longer trip.
CHELTENHAM: GREATWOOD HURDLE
Competitive field including a Triumph Hurdle winner in Ivanovich Gorbatov who I’ve ridden a couple of times since. Looking down the bottom of the card though David Bass certainly won’t be eating any breakfast as he takes the ride on Jenkins. With the stable in good form I can certainly see why he’s attracted so much interest. The only doubt I suppose is the rain they have had at Cheltenham which has turned the ground heavy. That often means that you can throw the form book out the window!
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