I’m not in Cheltenham on Saturday but instead I’m home and riding at Punchestown’s two-day meeting…. I’ve five nice rides to look forward to…



TORYGRAPH – 12.00pm

I start off aboard Torygraph in a red-hot looking beginners’ chase. He gave me a nice feel the other morning when I popped him over a few fences, and we always felt that would be the making of him. This looks the ideal starting point for him, although this trip would definitely be on the minimum side for this fella. The eye is obviously drawn to Bob Olinger who was brilliant over hurdles last season and if he can match that over fences, he’ll be tough to get near. Don’t forget he came from point-to-points so the larger obstacles should be no bother to him.


There can’t be many busier horses around than Buddy Rich who just seems to be thriving on his racing and goes again here. He was a real nice winner in Navan last week where he beat a good one in Ballyadam and that would have done his confidence the world of good. He meets some top ones again though and I have huge respect for the top one Cape Gentleman who is getting his act together over fences. The four-year-old filly Riviere D’etel also gets loads a weight and could be a danger to all.


We were pleased with the start Iberique Du Seuil made over hurdles in Galway last month and he is entitled to build on that here. That experience should be a huge help to him and hopefully he is the one to beat.

TOP BANDIT – 1.48pm

It was a real buzz riding Top Bandit to victory in Cheltenham the last day (pictured below) and hopefully he will step forward again. That said, looking at the opposition here, he will need to. The likes of Purple Mountain and Mighty Meggsie have the winning habit too. We’ll give it a good go though.

NOBLE BIRTH – 2.23pm

My final ride of the afternoon is Noble Birth who is so consistent without winning and deserves to get his head in front now over hurdles. He’s a son of Nathaniel with plenty of ability and we are hoping this will be the making of him. He’s certainly got plenty of experience in bumpers which should stand him in good stead.

I’ll be riding Noble Birth whilst the Paddy Power Gold Cup gets underway in Cheltenham, so I’ll look out for the result with interest…

2.15pm Cheltenham – Paddy Power Gold Cup

We Irish don’t have a terrific record in the race and rely on Funky Dady to put that straight. He ran well the last day behind Ontheropes and it will be a good test of that form. He’s on a mark of 131 in Ireland so has to do it here off a 5lbs higher mark. Shane Mulcahy is a good pilot though and takes off 7lbs. He may just be up against here and the one I like is Lalor who is now under the care of Paul Nicholls. I finished second on him in a novice hurdle at the track back in 2017. He felt like a good horse that day but one who struggled with his wind. He’s had that tinkered with now and lines up off what looks a lenient mark. He’d be the one I’d like to ride.

Good Luck