It’s been a quiet week as I’ve been recovering from a right old kicking I got from Ange D’or Javilex in Punchestown last Sunday in the beginners chase. I basically got kicked all over the place, including a stamp on the chest, so ended up a bit battered. I was keen to carry on but as always with these situations it’s a joint discussion between me and the racecourse doctor and the doctor always has the final say.
I’ve been doing a bit of swimming and I’m now back to where I want to be. There’s never a good time for something like this to happen but it’s been a quiet week of racing in Ireland and we’re still a couple of weeks off the Cheltenham preparations getting into full swing, so it could have been worse I guess.
I’m riding at both Navan and Thurles over the weekend. Whilst we’ve had a little bit of rain it’s still good ground forecast at both tracks and there’s no sign yet of the icy weather that’s starting to cause problems in the UK.
I’m looking forward to watching Altior in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot. He’s simply an incredible racehorse and looks to have a straight forward task against his two rivals.
Back to Ireland and my weekend rides.
Have only ridden him in work so far but he gives me a good feel and strikes me as very straight forward. He comes into this unbeaten with all three of his on good ground so no problems on that score. Hopefully we can build on his first success over hurdles at Perth but this is a big step up class and he has to give weight away to the field. You can make a case for all four of his rivals including stablemate Whoshotthesheriff and also Joseph’s (O’Brien) runner Smoking Gun who comes into this chasing a hat-trick.
DOCTOR PHOENIX (2.10pm Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase Grade 2)
He’s been a grand old servant and I hope he finds this a bit easier than the Grade 1 he contested over Christmas in Leopardstown. That said, it’s a very competitive Grade 2 with the dangers including Total Recall who pipped me a neck when I was on Whisper in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (former Hennessy) in Newbury. The concern for my fella is that he likes to get his toe in, so I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more rain before Sunday.
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