Un de Sceaux can continue on upward curve at Auteuil

Last Tuesday night it was my pleasant duty to be part of a large Irish contingent who were invited to be guests of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Un de Sceaux can continue on  upward curve at Auteuil

The visitors were wide and varied, representing many strands of Irish society. I was joined by four other prominent racing people from this country, namely Barry Geraghty, Paul Carberry, Jason Maguire and Mick Kinane.

Both Barry and Mick, of course, have ridden for the Queen, something I would very much like to do at some time in the future.

Anyway, I was glad I went and it was a great occasion, as were treated to a champagne and canapes reception.

We were all introduced individually and then Barry and I had a good old chat with the Queen. I have to say she is a very nice person and has an unbelievable knowledge of horse racing.

At the moment I have my right arm in a sling and, when meeting her previously, at Windsor Castle, my neck was broken. The Queen indicated she would love to meet me sometime when I was actually uninjured.

I asked her about her top class mare, Estimate, who beat Willie Mullins’ Simenon narrowly in the Ascot Gold Cup last June.

The Queen told me that Estimate would have one run and then head back to the Royal meeting to try and retain her crown.

And speaking of Simenon, I am very much looking forward to watching him in action, under Pat Smullen, at Meydan today.

He’s a horse who has been all over the world and I would love to see him land this major prize for Willie Mullins.

Emmet Mullins has been out there with the horse and, earlier this week, Willie made his way to Dubai.

Simenon has a terrible draw, 15 of 15, but such is life and you just have to get on with it and cope with the cards you are dealt.

The news on my injury is that there is essentially no news and I won’t really have anything fresh to report for about two weeks.

At the moment it is a case of rehab and physiotherapy. I had physiotherapy three times this week and a session yesterday morning went on for about an hour and a half.

I have had so many injuries over the years, and have been down this road so often, you’d think I would know how to cope.

But, as I get older, my coping skills seem to get worse and I don’t think, for instance, will find today very easy.

That is because Willie’s Un de Sceaux is running in a valuable Grade 3 at Auteuil and I would just love to be there with him.

We all know he is unbeaten in seven races, but will learn a lot more about him now. Chances are this is the stiffest test Un de Sceaux has faced so far.

He has schooled really well at home, over obstacles that are as near to French-style hurdles as we can make them.

The trip, two miles, three furlongs plus, will be no problem and, indeed, I’d say he will stay further.

Un de Sceaux is a nice size, but not the biggest horse in the world, and will love having to carry just 10-6.

I’d imagine he will be a far better price on the French tote, than in betting offices in Ireland, so, if you know Ronan O’Gara, give him a ring and see if he can get you on!

Willie has just one runner at Navan this afternoon, Mozoltov, and he should certainly prove hard enough to beat in a novice chase.

Mozoltov did go at the first in the JLT Chase at Cheltenham, but is basically a sound jumper, although will have to bring his A-game to the party if he is to again beat the improving Mount Colah.

At Limerick tomorrow, Willie takes the wraps of yet another French-import, Val de Ferbet, in a novice hurdle.

He has won over flights in his native country and is a good looking horse, who should go well and is very much a chaser for next season.

I won on Beluckyagain at Fairyhouse last time and she returns to action in a mares’ hurdle. Her jumping then was only okay early on, but she gradually warmed to the task.

Beluckyagain should have come on plenty for the experience and won’t be far away, in what does shape as a competitive contest.

Touch The Eden’s prospects, in a novice chase, very much hinge on the ground. He wants a sound surface, so the better it is the better for him.

I am intrigued by the rating given to the horse, relative to Rogue Angel, who trounced us by 11 lengths at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve.

Take a line through my father’s Foxrock as well and Rogue Angel comes out the best horse.

And yet Touch The Eden is on a mark that is 6lbs higher than Rogue Angel, which I find quite puzzling.

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

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