DAVY RUSSELL blog: Leopardstown Monday
Delighted to ride a couple of winners in Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day and get the busy Festive racing period off to a great start. It made all the food sacrifices yesterday well worth it!
I’ve got to start with Fil Dor who I was delighted with in the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle. He stepped up in class in style to remain unbeaten over hurdles.
We’ve always been excited about this fella but the problem has been he doesn’t really show everything at home and saves his best work for the racecourse. That’s a nice problem to have I guess. I still think he’s versatile ground wise but there’s no doubt he loves a bit of cut like we got today. I thought the course did magnificently in getting perfect winter jumping ground for us today.
He really loves jumping and just got better the further the race went on. He remains such an exciting prospect and I’m just mad about him!
I said in my blog yesterday that The Greek deserved to get his head in front but I wasn’t sure he had even after the race! Thankfully though the photo went our way in the big field handicap hurdle.
Earlier in the day Dartington (4th) and Ash Tree Meadow (3rd) both ran their races but the quality is red hot here over Christmas and with Ash Tree Meadow we were always going to be up against it with the likes of Sir Gerhard who looked really good on his hurdling debut.
Another top class day of action both sides of the Irish Sea and I’m in Leopardstown again with four nice rides to look forward to including The Bosses Oscar in the Paddy Power Chase. There is also the Welsh Grand National over in Chepstow where last year’s winner Secret Reprieve could easily go in again…
Have also recorded another Zoom Room with Bill and Luke with thoughts on the big races over the next two days including the Welsh National. You can watch that here …..
THE TIDE TURNS – 12.05pm
He’s a nice new recruit to hurdles who came to us from Sir Mark Prescott. To be honest I haven’t sat on The Tide Turns yet and he’s another who you don’t really know how good they are until you get them on track. He’s nicely bred being by Sea The Moon and promises to be okay. I guess the thing is you don’t really know who you are up against here with the likes of Icare Allen looking a potential smart new recruit. Prairie Dancer and Gentleman Joe both made pleasing debuts last month and will build on that here.
1.10pm (Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase – Grade One)
Only the four runners for the Grade One Chase and I’d say the drop in trip may be just what Envoi Allen needs. It may just be the move that will spark him back to life. Chacun Pour Soi is a NON RUNNER.
THREE STRIPE LIFE – 1.45pm (Future Champions Novice Hurdle)
Only the six in the Future Champions where Gordon (Elliott) runs both Mighty Potter and Three Stripe Life. Starting with Mighty Potter, he has that bit more experience than my fella having had two starts over hurdles. His inexperience may just have caught him out a little the last day and a drop of rain may help him here a bit too. Three Stripe Life is a lovely horse but is in the deep end a bit here. Looking at the others and Willie’s mare Grangee may just be the one getting 7lbs.
CALL ME LYREEN – 2.20pm
Another competitive handicap hurdle where Call Me Lyreen has his first run of the campaign. He ran a cracker in Punchestown last season and would go close here if in the same form. He didn’t show much in two starts over the summer and would need to put those disappointing runs behind him.
THE BOSSES OSCAR– 2.55pm (Paddy Power Chase)
The big handicap chase of the meeting and I ride The Bosses Oscar (pictured below) for Gordon. He’s wearing pieces for the first time which may just help me a little as they should help him travel a little better. The step up in trip will help as he stays really well and we are hopeful he will go close. It looks as fiercely competitive as you would imagine and you can make a case out for so many of them. Stablemate Braeside won well the last day and should go well too. It’s a race that JP (McManus) loves to win and he is firing nine darts at it – it wouldn’t surprise if one of them hits the bullseye.
Finally, it’s the Welsh National in Chepstow too…
2.50pm (Welsh Grand National)
The fact that Native River runs here makes things interesting as a fair few of these have to now run from out of the handicap. Every drop of rain that falls will help Irish raider The Big Dog who is a proper stayer. However, he has his work cut out against last year’s winner Secret Reprieve who carries just 10 stone. He looks the one to beat again although I respect the likes of Highland Hunter and Hold That Taught.