We’re three weeks and around four hours removed from the flag dropping to announce the commencement of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Gordon Elliott, who will hope to win it with Abacadabras, is in top form.
Darragh O’Keeffe may not yet be a familiar face to National Hunt fans but the teenager from Mallow is a rapidly rising star in the sport, and potentially on his way to setting records in what is just his second season riding over jumps.
The National Hunt season that has just finished was a very strange one. At times it felt like the season would never get going as we waited and waited for the skies to open. For us in racing, they never really did, but hopefully for the flat season ahead they won’t open now.
With the ground the way it is, this is going to be another quiet weekend for the stable. There was rain due yesterday evening, more today and by tomorrow we could even be thinking we should have had more runners declared but, as it stands, the ground at Fairyhouse and Navan is too dry.
After proving a class apart from his rivals in making a winning debut for new connections in the featured Grade Three Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle in very testing conditions at Powerstown Park, Chris’s Dream earned his ticket to next month’s Cheltenham Festival for a tilt at the Albert Bartlett.
The anticipated clash between two of last year’s leading staying hurdlers did not materialise at Thurles, but, in the absence of Prince Of Scars, the opening race proved a worthwhile schooling exercise for the Mouse Morris-trained Alpha Des Obeaux.