The whole of Ireland is basking in beautiful sunshine but I’m doing a rain dance. It’s getting warm and dry now, and Fairyhouse is drying up and Punchestown are pouring water on the course to beat the band. Let me be a spoilsport, I hope this weather breaks. I want it to rain.
The horses are in good order but, looking at the cards this Bank Holiday weekend, Willie has been selective about what he is running. He isn’t running Duc Des Genievres, Getabird or Chacun Pour Soi — they’ll all go to Punchestown. We have a big army of horses going there. Fairyhouse is right on top of Punchestown this year, so he has been selective, but Punchestown will be an all-out assault.
Willie runs seven in the Grade One mares’ novice hurdle on tomorrow’s card in Fairyhouse. Price-wise, Eglantine Du Seuil was a bit of a shock when she won the mares’ novice at Cheltenham but if you read through her form it wasn’t that big a shock.
She had a good run in Listowel when behind Triplicate and Aramon, and she was wasn’t beaten that far. Noel Fehily gave her a great ride in Cheltenham. I probably didn’t fancy her in Cheltenham because she had missed a bit of time after Listowel. I didn’t think she’d be ready, but she proved me wrong. You’d be hoping she would have improved since then and that’s why I went for her.
Elfile ran a blinder at Cheltenham over two miles and the step up to two and a half will really suit her.
Salsaretta ran really well in the Albert Bartlett and she drops back half a mile, and Paul has gone for her. Her run at Christmas, when she beat Felix Desjy, is a very good run but I just don’t know if she’ll handle really good ground.
Robin De Carlow has been rock-solid all year. Sancta Simona will appreciate the ground, but I think she and Buildmeupbuttercup may have their stamina stretched over this trip. And Calie Du Mesnil’s form is all in handicaps and she has to improve a bit to get involved.
Obviously, the one we all have to beat is Honeysuckle, who missed Cheltenham. She has been very impressive in all her starts to date and I think whatever beats her will win — I hope that’s me.
My next ride is Kildorrery, in the novice handicap chase. He’s a difficult horse to get a handle on but the small field will definitely suit him as will the good ground.
He likes to come from off the pace and having eight horses to pass is a hell of a lot easier than having 17. He has a big of ground to make up on Quamino on their Leopardstown run but I think he’ll run a good race and I’m looking forward to riding him.
It’s a tight little race: there’s a 154, two 151s and a 150-rated horse in the race, while Cubomania probably has to improve a bit off his mark.
I thought Voix Du Reve was travelling well enough when I fell off him at the third-last in the JLT. I don’t for one minute think he would have beaten Defi Du Seuil, but I think he might have beaten Lost In Translation, and that would have been solid-enough form.
Winter Escape is a very good horse when he’s right, and Real Steel definitely appreciates going right-handed. Mengli Khan has two ways of running but on a going day he’s a good horse, while Cubomania has been ultra-consistent. There mightn’t be a Duc Des Genievres or a Delta Work in here but it’s a tidy contest.
Willie has five runners in Cork today, starting with Mister Capitano in the opening race, a maiden hurdle. He was supposed to run in Tramore last Monday, but that meeting was called off due to the rain. He came from Germany with a reputation. He has been going okay at home but hopefully he will show more on the track than he does at home.
Killultagh Vic runs in the Betway Chase and I think this is more up his street than the races he has run in this season. It was hard for him in the Coral Cup having run over fences in Gowran, and he jumped too high that day.
He’s best in at the weights here. He gets 6lbs from Ball D’Arc whereas if it was a handicap, he would be giving him 7lbs, so theoretically he has 13lbs in hand of Ball D’Arc. I thought he ran a very good race in Gowran, when he finished upsides Edwulf, and that was a replica of his Irish Gold Cup run in 2018. I think a reproduction of that run will be good enough.
Willie runs two in the two-mile hurdle. Lac Kivu is having his first run in more than a year and a half and he probably wants further than two miles. The race probably revolves around Campeador, Swamp Fox and Willie’s other horse, Whiskey Sour.
Campeador has been chasing, while Whiskey Sour ran a blinder in the County Hurdle and Aubrey McMahon claims seven off him here. Dr Mikey is guaranteed to go a gallop, which will suit Whiskey Sour and I think he may be too good for Campeador. Swamp Fox hasn’t run for almost a year and will improve for the run.
General Counsel runs in the bumper. He goes really well at home and we’d be hoping he could get off the mark at the first time of asking.