It’s great to be back with my first blog of 2019 although it’s a relatively quiet weekend for me. The weather over here in Ireland continues to baffle me and I genuinely haven’t seen anything like it in my lifetime.
As it stands, I will be riding on ground close to heavy at Cork on Saturday and then on pretty much good ground at Naas come Sunday.
Looking back over the Christmas period and the highlight has to be Delta Work’s win in the Grade One Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
If I’m honest, just about everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, yet he still had the class to avoid being brought down and managed to go on and win.
He’s a very smart horse and is a really exciting prospect.
Onto this weekend’s action…
ROAD TO DUBAI (12.50pm)
I’m aboard Road To Dubai who makes his debut for Gordon (Elliott) in the maiden hurdle.
I’ve yet to sit on him but looking back at his form on the flat for George Scott over in England, he should have no problems with the ground.
I’d say it looks a hot old race though with the eyes immediately drawn to Willie’s (Mullins) newcomer Fast Buck.
Plenty of other good yards are represented here too though and it will take some winning with 24 runners.
COMMANDER OF FLEET (1.50pm)
The big race of the weekend on these shores is the Grade One Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle and it looks like being one hell of a contest.
We will know a lot more about the pecking order of Ireland’s novice hurdlers at around 2pm!
I ride Commander Of Fleet for Gordon who will definitely appreciate the step back up to 2 ½ miles – everything seemed to happen too quickly for him the last day.
He’s a smart prospect and I’m hoping he can bounce back here.
Gordon also has Battleoverdoyen who is still unbeaten and is held in high regard.
It’s a big step up from a maiden hurdle to a Grade One though, so he will have to be every bit as good as his reputation to remain unbeaten.
If I had to pick one danger it would be Tornado Flyer who looks to be very useful.
MISSY TATA (3.20pm Naas)
My final ride of the weekend is another one for Gordon in Missy Tata who makes her hotly awaited reappearance after two years on the sidelines.
She won nicely at Limerick when last seen in action at Christmas time back in 2016 and makes her chasing debut here.
The reason for her absence is that she has had loads of niggly problems, but she has been back in training for some time.
This looks the ideal starting point for her and if anyone can bring her back after 739 days its Gordon.
Happy New Year! Glad to see it started well with the Tramore double. My question:- Do you think that missing two possible prep races has adversely affected Presenting Percy’s chance of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup? Can he still be brought to his peak in time given that suitable opportunities to run are becoming more limited?
All the best and good luck for 2019,
Davy Russell: Thanks for your question and obviously missing prep races with any horse isn’t ideal. However, his trainer is a master of his craft and if you look at his record on the big stage with his horses, I will leave the planning to him. I am just very lucky to be asked to ride them.
If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll try and include in the next blog…