This weekend’s national hunt action takes place tomorrow and Willie has five runners to look forward to. He starts with Breaken, a recruit from France, where he ran on the flat three times and once over hurdles.
He’s a good jumper but he’s quite a free-going sort and likes to get on with things. He doesn’t lack pace and is more than capable of winning a maiden at this time of year. He should get the stable off to a great start.
Maze Runner should go close in the second race. He beat Band Of Outlaws in a maiden at Cork. Obviously, Band Of Outlaws turned around the form at Naas, but there is no shame in that for Maze Runner as the winner has gone on to show himself to be one of the best juvenile hurdlers in the country.
Ideally, I would prefer if the race was at a stiffer track, like Navan, rather than Limerick as Maze Runner is a very tough horse and this track can be a bit of a speed test at times, especially over two miles. But he’s a good jumper, is in really good order, and I don’t think he’s harshly treated.
Cut The Mustard runs in the mares’ hurdle. She hasn’t had much luck recently, but I got a couple of good spins on her recently, particularly at Leopardstown on her penultimate start, when she was second a mares’ hurdle over two-two.
I thought I went a bit too soon that day. I moved on her at the back of the second-last and she got there a lot quicker than I thought she was going to, and Sassy Diva came from behind me to beat me.
She was a bit disappointing in the County Hurdle on her latest start. It’s a competitive race tomorrow but she has a lot of experience and I think the race could really suit her, so I’m hopeful she can bounce back from her Cheltenham run.
In the Hugh McMahon Memorial, Robin Des Foret is officially 2lbs ‘well in’ with Burrows Saint but at this the latter is open to more improvement than the former, and that’s why I’ve opted to ride him.
I thought he won well enough the last day. He improved a good bit from the first day to the second, and I think he has improved again. Even though he’s a big horse, the dry ground will also help him.
He did disappoint on the only time he went beyond two and three-quarter miles last season, but he looks like a stayer to us, and hopefully he’ll get the trip. He’s a good jumper, he’s my only ride of the weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.
Today, the racing world will be turning to the Middle East, to Meydan, for the Dubai World Cup, where they’ll be running for unbelievable prizemoney.
The feature race is worth about €6.5m to the winner and when you think it’s a flat race run over ten furlongs and next Saturday we’ll be lining up for the richest jump race, run over four and a quarter miles over 30 obstacles and worth less than 10 percent to the winner, it’s quite astonishing money.
It has attracted the calibre of horse you would expect, and one of the most fascinating runners is the Japanese wonder filly, Almond Eye, in the Dubai Turf. There is talk of her heading on to Europe to ultimately clash with Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
It has been mooted that York has been working to get her to go there for the Juddmonte International or one of their races as a trial, but I’m sure Leopardstown are working overtime to try to get her to go to Leopardstown for Champions Weekend, where she could run in the Matron or the Irish Champion Stakes as a prep for the Arc. She would be some draw for Irish racing, if that could be achieved.
If you were looking for something as a betting proposition, Call The Wind, who runs in the two-mile race, would be my idea of a winner. He won the Prix du Cadran last year and so has more than enough stamina for today’s race, and I think he’ll take a bit of beating.
The Aintree Grand National meeting takes place next week and, with Altior not going there, I’m glad we entered Min in Friday’s Melling Chase.
Kemboy is in the Bowl, we have Faugheen, Laurina, Melon and Benie Des Dieux in the Aintree Hurdle, Aramon is in the novice hurdle, and we have a couple in the Topham. I don’t know which ones Willie will run, but hopefully we’ll have plenty to go to war with at the end of next week.