Looking forward to a busy weekend of rides at Gowran Park on Saturday and Sunday at Navan where the feature is the Troytown Chase. It looks like being testing heavy ground at both courses. I’ll also have one eye on the Betfair Chase at Haydock to see whether Cue Card can win it for a fourth time.
He gave me a nice feel on his hurdles debut in Down Royal when we were second to nice horse. It was soft that day, but I can’t see the heavy going causing any problems. He will hopefully come on for that first jumping experience and be a leading player in this big field opener.
This fella was an easy bumper winner at Limerick and I was onboard when he was fourth on his hurdling debut at Naas behind Red Jack. It was an odd race as they went very slow and I expect we’ll get a better gauge on him today. It looks a hot race though with the unbeaten Minellafordollars and the Willie Mullins trained Carter McKay the ones with strong claims.
ROARING BULL 1.10pm
This one definitely saves his best for the racecourse, so it’s hard to get a real feel for how good he is when you sit on him at home. He’s a lovely horse who is now unbeaten after winning a bumper at Punchestown and at Tipperary last time where he was an easy winner for me in his maiden hurdle. Small field race this, but Sharjah is also unbeaten and a danger alongside Shady Operator.
PAT’S OSCAR 1.45pm
She’s absolutely minute in size but as tough as nails on the racecourse. She ran a cracker in Clonmel last time out, beaten less than a length but is up another 3lb. I just worry about her being a victim of her own success as she is creeping up the weights and will need a great effort to defy top weight here in the ground.
FLAXEN FLARE 2.20pm
I won this last year on Zabana and this year there are just the three runners but it looks very much at the mercy of Min who makes his seasonal reappearance after nearly a year off. We saw last week with Faugheen that the absence factor was no barrier too an easy win. Flaxen Flare is never far away in his finishes and I’ll be hopeful of second even if I can’t get to Min. It does look his race to lose.
MONBEG NOTORIOUS 2.55pm
Big imposing horse and I imagine he’ll be an even better chaser than hurdler being a typical Gordon Elliott improver. He won two of his three races over hurdles including last time at Navan where the ground was also heavy. He’s a really exciting prospect and I’m hopeful he can make a winning start over fences.
ASCOT: BETFAIR CHASE (Haydock 3pm)
Looking forward to watching this and seeing whether Cue Card can record his fourth win in the race. Bristol De Mai is the young pretender and I’ll also be keeping a close eye on Gordon’s Outlander who was freshened up by a spell hunting before bouncing back to form with a win at Down Royal last time out.
I’ll be back on Saturday looking ahead to Troytown Chase day at Navan on Sunday
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