With those mistakes, it was a lost cause

GLANCING back at the week at Cheltenham, you would have to accept there were two very big disappointments for me, Kauto Star in the Gold Cup yesterday and Master Minded in the Champion Chase.

What can I say about Kauto Star? He made the most horrendous mistake at the eighth and we had no chance after that.

You cannot make an error as bad as that and hope to get away with it, in a race as competitive as a Gold Cup. I tried everything to try to hold onto their coat-tails, but it was an uphill battle and there was no way back, even before Kauto fell four out.

You can’t make a mistake like that against horses of the calibre of Imperial Commander, Denman and Cooldine. You are always struggling and I was fighting a lost cause. It was a bad fall but he got up and there’s not a bother on him. He cantered back down fresh as a daisy.

At least my sister, Katie, maintained the family honour by winning the County Handicap Hurdle. Katie ended with two for the week and it was just as well didn’t have any more rides, or she might have joined me on three winners!

Paul Nicholls and I felt Master Minded was in the form of his life going into his race, but he never rose a gallop. He didn’t jump or travel and, basically, was miles below the standard we have come to expect.

But I have been around horses a long time and know well that, on many occasions, they simply won’t please you.

Big Buck’s was terrific in the World Hurdle and, in contrast, to Master Minded and Kauto Star, did exactly what we expected.

I think you would do well to take note of Sanctuaire, who won the Fred Winter so impressively. He has a really decent future, although relaxing more in his races will be vital. The Fred Winter was run at a sparkling gallop and that was made for him.

I’m hoping that, with a summer’ grass under his belt, he will return a more mature horse next season.

And wouldn’t you have to love Quevega, who was quite superb when taking the mares’ hurdle on Tuesday. She is what I can only describe as a little dinger, with the heart of a lion and the engine of a Formula 1 car.

Right then what’s the weekend going to bring? I start with a much-needed day-off today and am looking forward to that. I’ve got a ticket for the rugby at Croke Park and have yet to attend an international at GAA headquarters. I haven’t fully decided whether to go or not, however, and will wait until rolling out of the bed this morning before arriving at a conclusion.

Tomorrow, I’m off down to Cork for four rides and certainly won’t be getting too excited about any of them. I kick away on Siberian Tiger for Tony Martin in a maiden hurdle. He has a reputation as being something of a jack-the-lad, but I wouldn’t agree with such thinking.

All that’s wrong really is he doesn’t stay on soft ground. I rode him the last day when he jumped well to finish second to Gold Cygnet at Thurles.

He’s an ordinary horse, there’s no doubt about that, but this seems an ordinary race, he’ll like the track and the more it dries out the better.

Tom Nagle has booked me for American Job in a conditions hurdle. Tom knows the time of day and, if fancies him, then he’d have to run well.

American Job would have a great chance if reproducing his second last run when third to Coole River and Quel Esprit at Leopardstown. He didn’t do so well last time, however, when sixth of six finishers to Western Leader at Thurles.

The horse I want to team-up with tomorrow is obviously the one that ran at Leopardstown. I’m on Kusadasi for Dusty Sheehy in a handicap hurdle. I have a good old record for Dusty and hope Kusdasi proves capable of improving on his latest outing at Naas.

I finish on another for Tony Martin, Meadows Thyne, also in a handicap hurdle. Like Siberian Tiger, his prospects would be greatly enhanced on good ground.

This appears competitive and, I’d imagine, if we finish ahead of sister, Katie, and Hoochie Mama we won’t be too far away!

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Saturday, January 15, 2022

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