I’m heading to Newbury today for four rides, three for Paul Nicholls and one for Pat Murphy. I’ve little doubt my best comes in the last, the bumper, aboard Paul’s once-raced Broomfield.
He’s a horse I recommended here three weeks ago, also at Newbury, but only managed to finish third. It was just my second day back riding after injury and I knew he was strongly fancied, after working really well at Wincanton racecourse.
Broomfield was far too keen, however, never settled at any stage and, when you do that, then more often than not the locker will be empty when push comes to shove.
That’s exactly what happened and he had nothing to give when the cavalry arrived to challenge through the final two furlongs.
He now drops back about half a mile in trip and, unlike last time, will be taking on all fellow four-year-olds. I think he has the makings of a decent horse and believe it will take a good one to beat him now.
I’m hoping for the best with Violin Davis, in what looks a very competitive mares’ handicap hurdle. She won well at Wincanton and has a grand weight to carry, 10-11.
She should have no trouble staying the two miles and five trip, will love the drying ground and has a decent each-way shout.
Pat Murphy’s Maktu has to carry top weight in a handicap chase. I don’t know much about the horse, but you’d think he is up against it.
Maktu seems to have lost his way of late, but did have some reasonable form on good ground back in the autumn.
Current Event is on a bit of a retrieving mission in a novice hurdle, having been a costly failure at Aintree last time. He went off an odds-on shot to land a maiden, but could only manage sixth.
The surface was on the soft side then and we’re hoping this ground will bring about significant improvement. Kid Cassidy is the one to beat, but we do get a chunk of weight, 13lbs to be precise, from him.
Downpatrick is fairly low-profile tomorrow, but I do have three rides and a winner is a winner no matter where it comes.
I think I have a good chance on Tom Mullins’ Fosters Cross in the conditions hurdle. He’s not the worst horse in the world and has run some nice races at Galway in the past.
That tells me going up and down at Downpatrick could be made for him and he should certainly go close. Obviously, he is lacking nothing in either age or experience.
I partner two modest horses for Jimmy Lambe in Breeze With Ease and Knocklayde Euro and their form is an open book.
Jimmy doesn’t contact Jennifer, my sister and agent. very often, but when he does it is usually because he fancies his runners. I’m taking that as a real sign these two will run big races.
The other thing to note at Downpatrick is that our Champion Hurdle hero, Willie Mullins’ Hurricane Fly, will parade during racing. Heading north with Hurricane Fly will be Wille’s Bless N’ject, who runs in the bumper.
He unseated rider in his only point-to-point outing, but I saw him work well at home on Thursday morning and should go well.
We’re only two weeks away from the Grand National at Aintree now and I’m left with a choice between Willie’s The Midnight Club and Paul’s Niche Market.
I’m going to sit on the fence a little while longer, but I did ride work on The Midnight Club at Willie’s on Thursday morning. He went well, looks well and pleased me.
There’s plenty of talk Kauto Star might come to Punchestown and I’m hoping that will be the case. Neither the first or the second in the Gold Cup, Long Run and Denman, will be making the trip, so Kauto would be hard to beat.
I think there is a good possibility of it happening and it would be terrific for racing and, more particualrly, Irish racing.
Willie’s Tawaagg won’t be far away in the novice chase at Navan today. He schooled nicely for me on Thursday and, though a small horse, has a great attitude.