[dropcap]F[/dropcap]irst things first, I’m delighted to have joined Star Sports as their brand ambassador and look forward to sharing my views with you on this blog as the season unfolds.
Things are really beginning to get going now and it’s great to see the likes of Cue Card and Coneygree starting out again at Wetherby for the Charlie Hall Chase – a race in which I think the younger Blaklion could have a major say.
I’m looking forward to riding at Down Royal on Saturday on JNwine.com day and Cork on Sunday and will run through my rides below.
Before that, a mention of Presenting Percy who I was really impressed with at Galway on Monday when winning his first start over fences.
I was impressed by the way he jumped and galloped all the way to the line – proving the ability he showed over hurdles is still all there and whilst there are plenty of bridges to jump before we talk about the RSA he remains the most exciting prospect.
He passed his first day at school with flying colours.
Now looking at this weekend’s rides…
Joined Gordon (Elliott) having run on the flat for Karl Burke. Has been schooling well but is thrown in at the deep end here as Espoir D’allen looked smart when winning on debut at Punchestown and even with his 6lb penalty he’ll prove a tough nut to crack.
Five starts for Roger Varian on the flat, winning his final one at Nottingham. Has had plenty of schooling over hurdles at home and is progressing nicely but will need to tick all the boxes to get off to a winning start in this 12 runner maiden hurdle. I was onboard Dis Donc when pipped at Thurles and he looks the one to beat. Both Falak and Kuraka (12.45pm) have only been jumping for a couple of weeks so it can take some time for them to catch up – particularly against those rivals who already have point to point experience.
REALT MOR 1.55pm
A really competitive looking handicap hurdle as you might expect where I ride the old boy Realt Mor. He rarely runs a bad race but this is a big ask for a 12-year-old on his first start since falling in the Champion Chase at Punchestown in April. I hope he runs really well for his sporting owner, but it will be a huge ask to win. I know plenty of these well including Artful Artist who is going to win one of these valuable handicaps one day. He keeps finding one or two too good, but has plenty of talent.
ZABANA 2.30pm JNwine.com Champion Chase
I ride Zabana who needed his reappearance run. We have tinkered with his wind a bit which will help, but he would want the ground to dry out a bit to be seen at his best. Our Duke is high up in the Gold Cup betting and will be hard to beat but I’m certainly not expecting any pushover. Sub Lieutenant won a Grade 3 here a year ago and might give the favourite the most to do.
BALKO DES FLOS 3.05pm
There may only be eight runners, but it should be a cracker as the handicapper has four of them separated at the top by only 1lb. My fella brings recent fitness into the race having won the Galway Plate and finished second to A Toi Phil in the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park last time out, so that’s a plus. I suppose it will all come down to who has the luck and doesn’t make a mistake at a crucial time.
SIR CARNO 1.05pm
This should prove a really informative race and I’m looking forward to the ride on Sir Carno. The ex-French trained runner shaped well on his bumper debut at Punchestown when fourth and has schooled really well. He is an exciting prospect. Kirwans Lane won nicely on heavy ground on debut at Roscommon and Gowran Park runner-up Castlebrook are both likely sorts but I am hopeful that Sir Carno has a bright future.
BURNING ISSUES 2.10pm
Has joined Pat Cloak who only has a handful of horses but they all run their races. Hasn’t won since winning this same race off a 1lb higher mark in 2014 so hopefully the trip to Mallow will again bring about a good run.
JURY DUTY 2.40pm
Made a very pleasing winning debut over fences to win well on soft ground at Limerick but will need to be a 150+ horse to win this as it looks a pretty deep contest.
BLESS THE WINGS 3.15pm Cork Grand National
Now a 12-year-old, Bless The Wings is a great trier and a credit to the yard. He finished fourth in this Grand National Trial in 2015 and ran absolute belters when second in both the Irish Grand National and the Glenfarclas Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. King’s Sam looks to have a big chance – I’ve seldom seen a horse win so easily as he did at Punchestown and whilst up in the weights that does bring him just a pound out of the weights here. The fact that Ruby (Walsh) is doing 10 stone suggests that Racing Pulse may be the one we all have to beat.
So consistent and deserves another win after recent close seconds at Galway and Thurles. Really enjoys jumping and this long straight should suit.
That’s it for this weekend. Enjoy the action and I’ll be back next Friday with Naas, Navan and Aintree all to look forward to.
If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and include next week…