I suppose the obvious starting point is over Jack and myself missing high profile rides on Saturday to ride for Gordon. To be honest, it’s all a bit of a storm in a teacup. The reality of the situation is that we are both lucky enough to be stable jockeys for Gordon and that is who we ride for. Our owners have been incredibly loyal over a difficult period and they deserve our support too. Situations like this mean that we have to give up rides on high profile horses trained in other yards, but that is the game we are in.
Anyway, onto the action on the track and the season really feels like it is starting to get going now. There is some lovely soft ground at Down Royal now that the rain has come and I’m looking forward to some nice rides on Saturday…
FIL DOR – 1.05pm
I’m looking forward to getting Fil Dor started in the opener. This is his first run for the stable and he looks like he will have a bright future. He is definitely more of a National Hunt type and whether he is sharp enough to win this first time up, remains to be seen. Whatever he does on his debut he will improve on and he is an exciting prospect. Looking at the others and the filly Sea Sessions looks the obvious one with a run under her belt.
THE GREEK – 1.40pm
Next up, I’m back aboard my old friend The Greek who is owned by local people. He looks sure to run his usual consistent race, whether that’s good enough for a contest like this remains to be seen. He will have his day though. His stablemate Mighty Potter may just be hard to beat in this.
ESKYLANE – 2.15pm
A really competitive looking handicap hurdle where I ride Eskylane who seems to be over last year’s health issues. We were delighted with his reappearance run at Listowel and he is entitled to have come on bundles for that. I’m hoping he can be competitive in what looks a wide open race. Our big dangers look the likes of Light Brigade and Homme D’Un Soir.
GALVIN – 2.50pm Champion Chase
The big race of the afternoon is the Champion Chase and it promises to be a cracker. Frodon comes over from Paul Nicholls’ yard and takes on Minella Indo, last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. Gordon runs both Delta Work and my mount Galvin (pictured below) who is now taking on the big boys. We were delighted with him in Punchestown the last day and we will know a lot more about how good he is after the race. On bare form he has a huge amount to find with the big guns here, but he brings race fitness to the party and I’m hopeful of a bold show.
VADO FORTE – 3.25pm
All eyes will be on Envoi Allen (pictured below) as he returns to action for a new campaign. Things didn’t go according to plan last season, and there is no getting away from the fact that he is seriously classy. It will be great to see him back on track where I ride Vado Forte for Gordon.
We couldn’t have been any more delighted with him on his debut for us in Limerick the last day. He was really impressive, but this is a big step up in class against one as good as Envoi Allen.
CLONDAW SECRET – 4.00pm
My final ride of the afternoon is Clondaw Secret in the three mile handicap chase He made a pleasing reappearance in Gowran earlier this month and can be very competitive if he builds on that. Jack rides Weststreet who will also strip fitter for his reappearance.