The jumps season rolls on and looking back at the last seven days my highlight had to be Honeysuckle claiming another Hatton’s Grace on Sunday. She is a very special mare for us all to be involved with and I was delighted we got her season off to a brilliant start.
I was also very pleased to land a double on Thursday at Clonmel on Epson De Houx and the likeable Mary Frances for Martin Hasset who is from Killenaule like myself, so it was great to get a winner for him at our local track.
Fingers crossed we can keep the ball rolling at Navan and Punchestown this weekend.
I kick off the weekend with a busy Saturday at Navan, my first ride comes in the opening maiden hurdle over two miles. I ride Gloire D’athon for Henry, he was a winner of a French bumper on his only start last October. He has been doing everything nicely at home and I am really looking forward to taking the ride on him for Cheveley Park who gave me my first ever Cheltenham Festival winner.
Next up for me is Minella Escape in the first division of the two mile four maiden hurdle, we got things wrong at the last at Punchestown back in September when he was a faller, he seems to be none the worse for it and has since been schooling well at home, hopefully we can put that behind us and make amends here.
Forged In Fire
Forged In Fire for Joseph is my ride in the other division, he beat Ferny Hollow on his only start last season on that line of form you have to think he should be an exciting recruit going over hurdles. I am really looking forward to the ride and hopefully he can show that sort of ability as he starts out his season.
Lady Breffni runs in a valuable handicap hurdle which as expected for the prize money on offer looks seriously competitive. This is her first start for Willie Mullins having previously won a point to point, a bumper and was last seen finishing second in a grade three race at Limerick. This is her first start in a handicap as well as my first time riding her, she is towards the foot of the weights off a mark of 128 and I’m very much looking forward to riding her.
We are then onto the Beginners chase where I partner with Argumental he won his maiden hurdle at Limerick over Christmas last year before having a couple more runs, you would hope chasing will bring out a bit more improvement in him whilst he is in good company here it will be good to get him started over fences today.
Just the three of us go to post in the novice chase over two mile one which is a grade three race, we have a bit to find with the other two on form but Cavalry Master should have benefited from the recent run at Fairyhouse and it should be an interesting race even with just the three of us.
My final ride of the day at Navan is on Treacysenniscorthy for Robert Widger, looking at his form over hurdles where he was in front of Ronald Pump and The Jam Man in decent handicaps at Leopardstown you would hope with just ten stone one on his back here he could have a big day in him over fences at some point and that it could well come here.
Sunday we move onto Punchestown and Ruaille Buaille in the rated novice hurdle gets my day started. She was a winner in her maiden hurdle here and was unlucky to get hampered at Punchestown at the end of October in a rated novice hurdle. She drops back slightly in trip today which could be an advantage and Willie’s horses are in good form heading into the weekend.
Next up is Boher Cailin in the mares novice this is a listed race, she won her only point to point start in similar conditions to what we can expect at Punchestown today. Her first start for Henry saw us win over the same trip as today race at Clonmel, she has done nothing wrong to date and deserves the chance to see if she can step up in better company, hopefully we can be involved at the finish.
The John Durkan looks to be some race with the eight runners all holding some sort of realistic chance. I am thrilled to have picked up the ride on Battleoverdoyen for Gordon Elliott, he got the better of Easy Game and Samcro in the grade two at Down Royal so fingers crossed he can do the same again here and make it back to back wins.
The 2.10 is a two mile four handicap hurdle that has me teaming up with Lady Lingo for Joseph Hennessy, she has snippets of form from her maiden hurdle runs that suggest she could be competitive in a race like this on her handicap debut.
I can’t wait to ride Captain Guinness again, his heart issue that emerged at Tipperary has been dealt with. He seems back in good form with himself and was great when I schooled him last week. Fingers crossed he can get back on track and get his novice chase season going here.
The final ride of the day is Riviera Sun, he disappointed the last day at Killbeggan when he was pulled up. He has seemed to be in good form at home and Henry’s horses are going well so hopefully we see a better effort today.