I had a number of rides lined up at Ascot, but the main reason for travelling was Sanctuaire in the Victor Chandler.
I know he was going to be up against taking on Sprinter Sacre again, but I just love riding in big races and the Victor Chandler was set to be the major prize of the weekend.
Mind you, the only way Sanctuaire could have won was if Nicky Henderson’s headman forgot to load Sprinter Sacre onto the box!
I have three rides at Naas, starting with the modest Mr Groocock in the first, a maiden hurdle. He was disappointing both at Wexford and Limerick and needs to improve a lot to win this.
So Young looks much more inviting in a Grade 3 over hurdles. He ran a blinder at Leopardstown at Christmas, finishing third to Monksland and Zaidpour, and we hope he can build on that.
The Leopardstown performance was no surprise to us, because So Young is an unbelievable horse at home.
I still think he was unlucky not to win a Neptune at Cheltenham - form which is rock solid. Basically, he is very good, but hard enough to work out.
He is just the sort of challenge Willie Mullins delights in. The problem today, of course, is having to concede Solwhit 7lbs.
We are all aware of how good Solwhit was in the past and he seemed to return from injury in good shape when chasing home Bog Warrior at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve.
If the real Solwhit strips then we are facing a hard task, but I’m more than happy with my horse, who is in right nick at the moment.
Tennis Cap completes my afternoon in a handicap hurdle. He’s reasonably well handicapped, if I can get the best out of him, but think Tony Martin’s Matsukaze is the one we all have to beat.
He won in a canter for me at Navan last time and I won’t fall off the chair should he defy a 14lbs rise in the weights.
Willie runs two others, Aupcharlie and Un Atout, and they have obvious chances. Aupcharlie is Andrew Lynch’s ride and has to be fancied for a Grade 2 novice chase.
I beat them on Back In Focus at Leopardstown, when Aupcharlie stumbled at the back of the last, losing valuable momentum.
Un Atout is a horse I have always liked and will be more than surprised should he fail to deliver for Davy Russell in a two-mile novice hurdle.
Tony Martin has booked me for Quickpick Vic in the first division of the maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse tomorrow and I’m hoping he gets me off to a flier.
I’m aware he has been a little bit disappointing in two bumpers, but do know Quickpick Vic has schooled quite nicely.
Greedy A.P comes across to partner City Slicker for Willie and J P McManus in the second division and wouldn’t you imagine he’d want to be doing something better with his Sunday?
I schooled City Slicker the other day and he jumps well. So I’ve actually got the horse ready for A.P, what more can I do for him?
Willie has set a tasty puzzle by running both Tasitiocht and Twigline in a Listed hurdle for mares.
Patrick Mullins is Tasitiocht’s regular partner and I team up with Twigline. Tasitiocht is good and has done little wrong so far.
Twigline, who came from France, won a moderate maiden hurdle for me with any amount in hand at Fairyhouse.
Neither is overly big, but it is more than a possibility they will finish one and two. I’d say there is only a good jump between them and just hope to get lucky.
Conor O’Dwyer has given me the nod for Caballo De Marcus in a handicap hurdle. I rode Living Next Door to beat him in a maiden hurdle at Limerick.
That looked an atrocious contest on paper, but it rode like a half-decent race and I’m more than happy to be aboard a horse who is rated just 100.
I’m on Lambro in the Dan Moore Handicap Chase, a race which has very generous prizemoney on offer.
He hasn’t been seen since winning at Punchestown in May and has top weight and an absence of 257 days to overcome.
I am, however, on record as saying that second-season novices are particularly well treated and he falls into that category.
And don’t forget Lambro made a race of it one day last season with Flemenstar at Naas. He’s in real good order at home and I’m certainly expecting a big run.
I end on Sensational Sema for Tony Martin in another handicap chase and let’s just say I’m going to be in trouble if still waiting for a winner at that stage.