DAVY RUSSELL: Naas/Punchestown Weekend

I was glad to get a winner at the Dublin Racing Festival last weekend with Black Tears. Obviously I always want to do better but the quality of racing has just improved significantly for each of the three years and I thought it was exceptional this year. I take heart from the fact a lot of mine ran well without winning – which hopefully bodes well for Cheltenham and Punchestown.

The meeting did highlight the highs and lows of jumps racing. Jack (Kennedy) won the Irish Gold Cup on Delta Work and less than an hour later he was off to hospital with a broken leg. I send my best wishes to him for a speedy recovery – I know full well how hard these injuries can be to take.

Slightly quieter weekend but it won’t be long before the hullabaloo of the Cheltenham Previews start. I’m riding at Naas on Saturday and fingers crossed Punchestown on Sunday. I say fingers crossed as with Storm Ciara set to hit, the worry might be the high winds.

Here are my thoughts on all my rides this weekend.

SATURDAY

NAAS

RECENT REVELATIONS (2.12pm)

These new times will take a little getting used to! Recent Revelations won really well the last day in Mallow and takes another step up the class ladder here. It’s a small but select field and my fella should appreciate any more rain which has been forecast. He’ll need to improve to win this but there’s a good chance he will – so fingers crossed.

FAKIERA (2.47pm)

I think he is a really nice prospect and showed plenty of promise in two starts in bumpers. He has schooled well at home ahead of his first start over hurdles and we should know plenty more about him after the race. The concern, I guess, is that the trip might prove to be on the sharp side but hopefully he can make a promising start in this huge field.

SUNDAY

PUNCHESTOWN

CEDARWOOD ROAD (2.15pm Listed Novice Hurdle)

A big scopey horse who is still very raw but is very much going the right way and he was good in Leopardstown over Christmas when winning his maiden hurdle easily (pictured below). He had plenty left in the tank that day and gave me a good spin round. This is a big step up in class for him and we’ll see where we are after this in terms of the Supreme at Cheltenham for which he holds an entry. Gordon (Elliott) runs a couple of smart prospects, notably Grangeclare Native who is unbeaten in a Point and bumper.

PENCILFULLOFLEAD (2.45pm)

A big field and any number of likely improvers. Pencilfulloflead won a bumper and made a promising start on his first start over hurdles in Naas when second to Asterion Forlonge. The form of that run was given a huge boost when the winner went on to win a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last weekend with some ease. Pencilfulloflead will hopefully have come on a lot, particularly with his jumping which was sketchy and he should also appreciate the step-up in trip.

SASSY YET CLASSY (3.20pm)

The filly has been knocking on the door but just struggling to get a win since her maiden success at Cork which was on good to yielding ground. She’s back up in trip having run OK the last day here over two and a half when she was back in her own company. This looks a tough enough test though.

Good Luck
DAVY


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