I’m in Sandown today for just one ride and it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It will be my first time riding Laurina in public but I’ve ridden her a fair bit at home and I love the feel she gives you.
She was unbeaten last year, when her wins included the mares’ novice hurdle at Cheltenham, and I know that on the figures she has to improve to be a Champion Hurdle contender but if there’s as much under the bonnet as you think is there, God knows what she could do.
She stays well but she has more speed than people think. She’s one of the stars of our yard and I’m mad looking forward to today.
You can never do as much at home as you can on the track, and you can never find out quite how good they are just going by their homework, but by the impression she gives I just can’t wait to let go of her head and see what’s capable of. She should have too much for today’s rivals, and the bookmakers have priced her accordingly, but it’s just great to have her back on the track.
We have two runners today in Cork, starting with Clinton Hill, who makes his debut over hurdles, in the three-mile maiden. He has had a lot of problems since we bought him but his work at home has been good and the way he is going at the moment suggests he could yet realise the potential we always thought he had.
Fast Buck makes his debut for us in the two-mile maiden hurdle. He was twice a winner on the flat in France, back in 2017. He has plenty of work done and he jumps well so I think he should give a good account of himself.
We run four tomorrow at Naas, and three of those are in the Grade 1 novice hurdle, which I think is the best race of its kind run this season in Ireland. It’s a cracking contest and I’m hoping Tornado Flyer can do the business.
Of our runners, Getareason is a decent sort and has the most experience but you’d be hoping Come To Me and Tornado Flyer might have more ability.
Come To Me was very good in Cork. He won his bumper but then had a lay-off before he bolted in in his maiden last time. There’s going to be a good bit between him and Tornado Flyer in the betting for tomorrow’s race, but I don’t think they’ll be as far apart as the market might suggest. They are two very good horses which, of course, they will have to be to go close in this race.
Tornado Flyer bumper form last year was rock-solid, and he should have improved for his win at Punchestown. He’s in very good order and should go really well, but you also have to respect the likes of Battleoverdoyen and Lone Wolf, who are fair horses.
We also run Queens Boulevard in the opening race, a two-mile maiden hurdle. She won her first two bumpers but was a bit disappointing on her last two and would probably want the ground to be every bit as slow as it is. She’s in good order and is going well, but she has to leave those two disappointments behind her and may find it hard to reverse recent form with Barrington Court.
I think people should give RTV a chance again on Sunday, when Naas is the only meeting on its schedule. New Year’s Day was always going to be a trial for the channel, with so much racing on, but I think you’ll get a clearer picture of what it is when you watch it tomorrow.
I know there’s plenty of debate at the moment about the archive footage but it’s about time people realised who owns what. The jockey, the trainer or the owner never owned any of those rights. We don’t own any of the still pictures we’re in, or any of the footage we’re in. That is all owned by the person who took the shot and the person who took the footage. I can’t believe it has only dawned on people now that this could happen.
We don’t own our own product, and we never owned it, we are only participants in it. That was sold out years ago, and not by anybody who is involved in racing now – certainly, the jockeys who are riding now didn’t sell this out. Whoever films the footage or takes the shot has ownership of it, and that’s the way it is.