Dare To Doubt a decent mare who is working very nicely

IT would be remiss of me this week not to start with Paddy Mullins, who was, quite simply, a genius and a legend.

I rode plenty of horses for the man I always called Mr Mullins and it was a real pleasure. He was quiet and unassuming and rarely used four words when he regarded one as being more than sufficient.

When you rode for him instructions were always kept to a minimum. One of the best illustrations I can give is when I partnered Asian Maze to win her first race over hurdles.

It was at Punchestown and Paddy’s son, Tom, was with him in the parade ring. I well remember hardly a word of conversation passed between us.

Then, as I was about to board Asian Maze, Paddy said to me “she jumps and stays.’’ That was it, he didn’t say anything else.

I got the message loud and clear, popped away in front and made all of the running. A Paddy Mullins post- mortem was just as brief as his instructions. There was never a question of a long drawn-out saga.

I got to know Mr Mullins socially as well as professionally. I wouldn’t entirely agree that he was as shy and reserved as people think. In my opinion he was just polite.

The word great is often used loosely, but is surely the best description of Paddy Mullins. Today, he will be buried in Goresbridge, but will never be forgotten.

I have just one ride this afternoon, The Tother One in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby. He hasn’t run since finishing fifth to Chief Dan George in the William Hill Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

I suppose, overall, you could accuse The Tother One of being a bit disappointing and he has to improve to take a hand in this company.

He had a light campaign as a novice over fences however, and, as a result, was somewhat lacking in experience last season.

The Tother One is working and jumping well at home now and is a tough customer. The nine-year-old is not a horse who will do a whole lot in front, so the plan will be to arrive upsides at the last. Essentially, he has an each-way shout.

I head down to Cork tomorrow for four rides, starting with Moon Over Moscow for Tom Hogan in a Grade 3 hurdle.

Tom also runs the likely favourite, Mount Helicon, so my mare is obviously a second string. I don’t ride too often for Tom and am delighted to get the call up.

It’s a very tasty pot and, whatever my prospects of winning, I’d have none at all sat on the sidelines.

I’ve got the nod from Davy Fitzgerald for Operation Houdini in the Cork Grand National and he should run a big race.

He handles soft ground and stays forever. Every furlong beyond three miles is a big ask and, if you don’t stay, you have no chance.

I’m looking forward to Dare To Doubt for Willie Mullins in a maiden hurdle. This is a decent mare, who is working very nicely.

Fitness at this time of the year is always a bit of a worry, but I’m hoping her undoubted class will see her through.

I end on Corrick Bridge for Tony Martin in a handicap hurdle and am not overly optimistic. He’s a delicate individual and may struggle, if the ground rides on the soft side.

I’m at Kempton on Monday for Free World in a graduation chase. He may not be everyone’s favourite horse, but has now learnt to settle and should win.

On Tuesday it’s Exeter and the Haldon Gold Cup, where I have a choice between top weight, Twist Magic, and Tchico Polos, off 10-4. I intend to sit on the fence a little longer before deciding which one to ride.

On Wednesday morning I’ll be at Paul Nicholls’ to school Kauto Star. Now that the rain has finally arrived in Ireland, Kauto will be starting off his campaign at Down Royal next Saturday.

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