DAVY RUSSELL exclusive blog: Weekend Rides
A slightly quieter weekend for me but after a non stop Christmas that might not be a bad thing. I’ve just the one ride down in Cork on Saturday and then a busier Sunday in Fairyhouse. Thoughts on all my rides below. It’s sure to ride testing at both courses as there’s been plenty of rain about.
I’m also looking forward to watching the big race in England from Sandown (Tolworth). I know it’s a massive step up for Constitution Hill but I just have to say I was visually very impressed with his win at the course the last day and we’ll find out just how good he is in this company.
1.03pm EBASARI CorkRacecourse.ie Maiden Hurdle 2m
Just the one ride for me on Saturday and it’s on Ebasari in this huge field maiden hurdle. Listen, we’re on a learning curve with this one – I’ve only sat on him briefly at home and he’s coming along but we’ll know much more after this opener. Most of his flat form was on better ground so this will be a new test. Gordon (Elliott) also runs Enki Flacke who has that bit more experience but again the ground will be new to him too. Despite the field size, there’s one that we’ll all have to beat and that’s Willie’s (Mullins) Adamantly Chosen. I managed to pip this one on it’s debut at Fairyhouse when I won on Gringo D’aubrelle but the runner-up looked a future winner and should come on plenty for the run.
12.50pm BRITZKA Fairyhouse January Jumps Hurdle 2m
This actually looks a decent race and I’m looking forward to teaming again with Britzka. I was on him for his maiden hurdle win here over course and distance and he won really nicely. He was then third in the Grade 2 Knight Frank in Leopardstown over Christmas which I won on Fil Dor. That was a really good effort from him on just his second start and this level should be easier. I’m obviously hoping he runs really well as that will also boost the form of Fil Dor which we think so much of. Gordon also runs Iberique Du Seuil who is a grand horse and is proving very consistent.
1.20pm JUMPING JET Fairyhouse Mares Maiden Hurdle 2m 2 1/2f
The key to her might well be the ground. Jumping Jet was really good when winning her bumper in Gowran on heavy and pulled 29 lengths clear of a big field. I was then third on her first over hurdles start in Galway and she should know plenty more about the jumping game today.
2.20pm CASTLEGRACE PADDY Dan & Joan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase (Grade A) 2m 1f
Sunday’s feature and I’m riding Castlegrace Paddy (pictured below) for Pat Fahy. He’s a grand horse who should love the conditions but he’ll need a personal best to win this – so that’s a pretty big ask given he’s now an 11-year-old and the most senior runner! He’s had a decent break since pulling up in the Champion Chase in Gowran so should come into this fresh and we’ll give it our best shot.
3.20pm CHAMPAGNE SPARKLES Irish Stallion Farms EBF Rated Novice Chase 2m 5 1/2f
Conditions won’t be a problem for Champagne Sparkles but we’re on a bit of a recovery mission with him as he ran very flat on St Stephen’s Day when pulling up in Down Royal. Hopefully nothing more than a bad day at the office and he can start showing us a bit more here.