A good day at the office on Saturday at Navan with a winner and two seconds on the card. Festival D’ex needed every yard of the trip but I was delighted by the way he picked up after the last and in the end just had to be pushed out. It was a very pleasing hurdling debut from him.
I’m A Game Changer ran well in second in the Grade 3 novice chase and Ben Dundee again ran a belter on his seasonal reappearance, just finding Minella Times too good. He’s still entered up for the beginners chase at Punchestown on Sunday (2.20pm) but unlikely to be running I would have thought.
Myth Buster might have been the one that got away. He was still travelling powerfully for me before he unseated me four out.
MOUNT IDA (12.50pm)
A valuable mares novice hurdle and as well as the prize money it makes a big difference for future breeding for a mare to win a race like this. I don’t think there is anything to choose here between Gordon’s (Elliott) two runners and it’s a real spin of the coin between them. Both of them come into this on the back of good wins. I partner Mount Ida who came back after a break to win well for me at Galway. She had plenty in hand that day and fully deserves a crack at this tougher race. The obvious danger is Henry De Bromhead’s mare Minella Melody who relished the step up in distance to win the last day in Cork.
ARCTIC PEARL (1.20pm)
A nice spare for me to pick up for a very good trainer in Martin Brassil. The stable had a nice winner today at Navan with Longhouse Poet. Arctic Pearl is back over hurdles after a couple of chase runs this year. He won at Punchestown a year ago and hasn’t had many miles on the clock since, so hopefully can get competitive off a 7lb higher mark than he was rated when winning at Punchestown. It looks a wide open and competitive handicap though.
PRESENTING PERCY (1.50pm John Durkan Memorial)
I’ll be seeing him again for the first time since the Gold Cup. I knew very early on it wasn’t going to be his day at Cheltenham but we start out again in a great renewal of the John Durkan. He’s only been lightly raced over the last couple of seasons and has a tremendous strike-rate so am greatly looking forward to riding him again. He was bidding for a third win in three years at the Cheltenham Festival and that’s such a hard feat for any horse but it was such a shame he didn’t fire in March and he also finished lame on his right hind. We’ll see how things go today but ideally he wants longer than this 2m 4f and the trip looks tailor-made for last year’s winner Min. Shattered Love was only beaten a length and a half by Min that day and is a very talented mare.
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