Well, the New Year certainly started with a bang as I took a nasty fall on my first ride of 2020 at Fairyhouse. I was just delivering a strong challenge on Column Of Fire at the second last when we came down and frustratingly I twisted my ankle. I’ve had a few days off to recover and thankfully all is in good order now after physio and a few dips in the sea! I’m not actually riding at Cork on Saturday as I only had bits and pieces and giving my ankle a bit more time seemed the sensible option, particularly when I have a horse like Envoi Allen to look forward to on Sunday. Anyway, more about him a bit later.

Looking back over the Christmas period and I was delighted with Battleoverdoyen who dug really deep to win the Grade One Neville Hotels Chase. The race cut up a fair bit with a few significant non-runners, but the second horse Champagne Classic is a fair sort and pushed us all the way to the line. Leopardstown is a funny place in that you rarely see horses stretch away for big distance successes, so we were pleased with our fella. When races turn into a bit of a duel like that, they can be trappy to win so it was great he got the job done.

Coeur Sublime didn’t really fire when third to Sharjah in the Matheson Hurdle and he is better than he showed. He’ll be back for another day and hats off to the winner who followed up last year’s success. Presenting Percy ran okay to be fifth to Delta work in the Savills Chase. I suppose the positive is that he was only beaten four lengths, but he needs to step up again to reverse the form.

As I mentioned I won’t be riding on Saturday but will be keeping a close eye on the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown (2.25pm). There are only the seven runners with Fiddlerontheroof and Son Of Camas looking the obvious two. The Tizzards won it last year and look to have an exciting one in Fiddlerontheroof.

I’ll then be back in action at Naas on Sunday with the one ride…



ENVOI ALLEN (2.20pm – Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle Grade 1)

Again, only the seven runners for this Grade One where I am excited to be back on Envoi Allen for Gordon (Elliott) and Cheveley Park (pictured). He’s a really exciting horse who has won both hurdle starts for me in really impressive fashion. His latest win in the Royal Bond has been franked by the runner-up Abracadabras winning the Grade One Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas. He steps up to this 2m 4f trip for the first time and that should be ideal. It does look a really hot race though and will certainly be his biggest test over hurdles to date. The Mullins horse Elixir D’ainay looks pretty smart and I know Longhouse Poet has some engine too. Even Midnight Run, who disappointed behind us at Fairyhouse last time, is useful and it would be no surprise to see him go well with his stable flying at present. It looks a quality renewal and it should be some race to watch.

Good Luck

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