It was another great week with two winners from five runners, with the other three delighting me as well, while I was pretty hopeful that Miss Macnamara and Posh Frock would go close in Dundalk last night too.
Jezki was brilliant in putting some good horses to bed easily in the Grade 3 Fishery Lane Hurdle at Fairyhouse. He couldn’t have done it any better.
He prefers good ground but it was good to see him travelling and jumping so smoothly on heavy going. He’s a proper horse and you can’t help but get excited when you see that type of performance in a good race. It’s all systems go for the Royal Bond now.
Director’s Forum was having his first hurdle run in the same race and I was very pleased with his effort. He looked like running a very big race before tiring to finish fifth. He will have one more run to build experience before going to Leopardstown at Christmas.
I was very pleased with Operating too. He was unfortunate to meet Rory O’Moore on a going day. It would have helped if Operating had some company when trying to chase him down, but he had to do all the work.
Celtic Cailin ran another cracker to finish third in a Grade 3 contest at Navan on Sunday. Previously at Down Royal, we were trying to find out if she was that class as she had a handicap rating of 102 and rode her to get the black type. We were much more confident with her as a result of that third-place finish and so she ran more prominently.
She was very good but just got a bit tight to the third-last and second-last, which proved costly. She will be entered for a maiden hurdle at Navan over two miles and the graded hurdle over two and a half miles tomorrow week.
Jetson was good in winning his beginners’ chase at Downpatrick on Wednesday. His jumping was good apart from one mistake four out, where he and Barry got their wires crossed. He’s a small horse and it’s harder for him out of that soft ground. He’ll go next in the three-mile handicap hurdle at Christmas.
Bostons Angel (2.45) was hunting with the Ward Union during the week and had a great time ahead of his racecourse debut in a cross-country race at Punchestown today. He’s in fantastic form and has schooled well over the banks. They seem to keep him interested and I’m really looking forward to this.
Annie Oakley (3.15) is a nice, well-bred filly having her first racecourse appearance in a 2½m maiden hurdle. She schools well and hopefully it will be a nice run for her. Alderway (12.35) is another first-timer at Punchestown tomorrow. He’s a great big chaser so anything he does from now until he jumps a fence in public will be a bonus. He may need better ground.
Then we have Oscars Well and Jenari in the Craddockstown (1.05). There are no two-mile races for them and they both need more experience before taking on the likes of the Drinmore and Christmas races, so I decided to run the two of them.
They both were very good hurdlers and they jump very well. Oscars Well is a couple of years older but let’s just hope they have good trips around. They are in very good order and have clearly done well so far but Baily Green and Twinlight are good horses, with more experience than them.
Paradis De Thaix (2.45) needs the run ahead of an intended date over the National fences at Aintree next month, while Saludos (3.20) runs in his first hurdle for more than two years. He is fairly rated and could run a big race.
Chino Valdes (1.50) ran a great race last time but probably got there too soon. Kevin Sexton takes seven pounds off, which will leave him carrying 9st 8lb. Kevin won’t be afraid to wait forever and that’s what he’ll need to do. Two and a half miles will suit and he has won at Cork before so he has a very big chance.
I think Maller Tree (1.45) could go close at Cheltenham too as he and Beachdale Lad run in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle (1.45). He is in great form but unfortunately we just couldn’t run him last week as he picked up a little niggle. He’s terrific now though and while he has plenty of weight for a little horse, I think he’ll run a big race.
The English handicapper has been harsh on Beachdale Lad, rating him just nine pounds below Maller Tree. I’m going there for the good ground and I hope it is good. It looked a bit puddingy yesterday.
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