No winners on Saturday’s card but all four of my rides got into the places. I’m sure Sempo will come on plenty for his debut third over hurdles. He made a couple of jumping errors but will hopefully come back knowing a lot more about the jumping game. Doctor Phoenix was second in a 1-2-3 for Gordon (Elliott) in the big handicap chase of the day and I was also second on Definite Plan to easy winner Party Playboy. Mrs Lovett showed us a bit more with her third in the mares handicap chase.
Now onto Sunday’s card.
ENVOI ALLEN (1.00 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle)
I’m obviously hugely looking forward to getting back on the unbeaten Envoi Allen who gave me a great feel when winning on his debut over hurdles at Down Royal last month (pictured jumping the last). He did absolutely everything we asked for that day and was very good over his hurdles.
This is his toughest task to date and to be honest is as competitive a renewal of the Royal Bond as I can remember. I certainly don’t consider it a penalty kick – I never do with Grade 1 races. My fella is up against plenty of horses who have a little more hurdling experience, including Gordon’s other runner Abacadabras who was fourth to Envoi Allen when they clashed in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.
Midnight Run won in really good style in Cork the last day and the form of that race took a nice boost when the third Conflated won well here on Saturday.
I just hope Envoi Allen runs his race and continues to improve as he remains an exciting prospect.
TINTANGLE (1.30 Drinmore Novice Chase)
A fascinating race on paper with Fakir D’oudairies and Samcro going head to head – both look to have transferred their talent over hurdles to fences judged by their easy debut wins over the larger obstacles. I ride the mare Tintangle for the first time and she’s had a good start to the season with a two mile win here and then making all to win at Clonmel last time out. This is clearly though a massive step-up in class for her and she really is in at the deep end in this company.
OUT SAM (2.05)
Is coming into this on the back of a fall which is never ideal and he’s still quite high in the weights. I won the Cork National on him last year when he proved he can handle the hustle and bustle of a big field race and I would think he’ll need to bring his better form to the table to get involved here. It’s no surprise to see Ask Susan well fancied for this after her big efforts at Galway and Listowel this season.
CHOSEN MATE (3.10)
Bounced back from the Galway Hurdle with a much better effort at Listowel last time out. He’s a course and distance winner here but is still high in the handicap. This looks very tough indeed with hat-trick seeking Janidil an obvious danger – one of five JP owned horses in the race.
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