I‘m not sure what the lads are having for breakfast at the moment but there have been two incredible rides in the last week. First up was Hugh Morgan on Young Dev at Navan who broke his right stirrup after the first of 17 fences and rode without irons for the rest of the three miles! There’d have been plenty who would have given up and saved him for another day but Hugh’s perseverance was unbelievable. Incredibly, he even seemed to have confidence to take a pull coming to the last ….as the commentator said: “This’ll be a miracle if he wins ….”
… and just when you thought you had seen everything up pops James Bowen at Chepstow who won the bumper on Mot A Mot despite riding with a broken rein for most of the race.
I’ve tried comparing the two rides in terms of difficulty and honestly can’t split them – they are BOTH unbelievable. I know James didn’t have any obstacles to overcome in the bumper but he literally had no steering wheel either!
I’ve got a busy day on the Star panel for the Cheltenham Preview Videos and hope you enjoy watching those next week.
The Festival might be getting ever closer but fair play there’s some good jumps action both sides of the Irish Sea this weekend – some thoughts on the Saturday races below and I’ll back looking at the Sunday Naas card on Saturday evening.
1.10 Norman Colfer Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 3)
The interesting one has to be Gordon’s (Elliott) Teahupoo who also holds three Cheltenham entries including the Supreme and Triumph.
He’s a nice horse in the making and joined the stable from France before winning easily the last day in Fairyhouse. This is a Grade 3 so we’ll find out plenty more about him and whether it’s a stepping stone for something bigger.
1.45 Red Mills Trial Hurdle (Grade 3)
Six runners but it looks very open. Sixshooter is in good form coming into the race and should find this a little easier than the last two Grade 2’s he’s recently run in but I’m going to stick with my old friend Petit Mouchoir who I made a winning chase debut on back in 2016. He’s been dining at the top table recently with his last two races in Grade 1’s and despite now being a 10-year-old can he can still prove more than competitive at this level.
2.52 Bobbyjo Chase (Grade 3)
A race that Willie (Mullins) likes to use as a Grand National trial and it’s hard to look beyond his pair Acapella Bourgeois and Burrows Saint. There’s little to choose between the pair but I’ve a feeling that Acapella Bourgeois may just come out best here, however at Aintree it could be a different story.
1.50 Close Brothers Pendil Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
He’s not well in on the figures having to give weight to the higher rated Tamaroc Du Mathan but I still think Coole Cody has got a good chance on his first trip to Kempton. He jumps quick and if in the same kind of mood as he was at Cheltenham in November can take some pegging back. The only downside with his jumping is sometimes he can get low at his fences.
2.25 Close Brothers Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2)
Alan King’s Tritonic made a nice winning debut at Ascot but I see no reason why Margaret’s Legacy shouldn’t go close again. I’ve been impressed by young French trainer Hugo Merienne and whilst it’s hard to get a handle on Margaret’s Legacy’s two wins at Cagnes, he’s made all and won well on both jumps starts.
3.00 Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
I’m sticking with the Irish trained Cape Gentleman here who I still feel is a very good horse. He won the Irish Cesarewitch on the level and made a winning jumps debut at Punchestown. He didn’t run his race next time when pulled up but was pitched in at the deep end and can get back on track here.
3.15 Vertem Eider Handicap Chase
Plenty of familiar names here and it’ll be a slog on soft ground over the four miles (plus!) trip. Quite a few of these are on retrieval missions but the one that catches my eye is Salty Boy who I think will be suited by both the marathon trip and flat track. He’s yet to win over fences but has been doing his best work at the end of his races, including when third in the Tommy Whittle (3m 1f) at Haydock and could easily turn the form around with the winner Sam’s Adventure.