Captain Carolcan go one better

I’m sure most people are delighted with the mild and dry weather we have been experiencing for a while now, but for those of us in the racing game, at least the National Hunt end of things, it is really annoying.

Captain Carolcan go one better

I was out injured for a long period and am absolutely chomping at the bit to get up and running in a major way.

But my frustration is growing all of the time, knowing Willie Mullins has an army of horses to launch, but that they will not appear until there is significant rainfall.

I was at Willie’s on Tuesday and Thursday and will be back there this morning. I’d say we worked about 100 horses on Tuesday and Thursday and expect the same again today.

We are now ready to rock and roll, but Willie won’t push the button until he is satisfied they can start off on a suitable surface.

The jump racing in Ireland today is at Wexford, but I do not have a ride.

Willie didn’t even have entries, aside from Captain Carol in the bumper, while most of the other trainers with whom I normally associate don’t have runners.

Anyway, I am going to nap Captain Carol, who was second on her debut to Fill Your Hands at Roscommon.

I know the form is ordinary enough, but she’s going nicely at home and will certainly do me in a Wexford bumper. Captain Carol is not a big filly, but is well built.

Tomorrow, I head to Galway for two rides, starting with Willie’s Un Beau Roman in a novice chase.

He was second to Ted Veale at Roscommon and that was a solid effort, because Ted Veale is a useful sort.

Un Beau Roman is the highest rated in the contest and has to go close, in what does shape as a competitive enough race.

Mind you, I would be much happier if there was a fence half way up the run-in, rather than having two down in the dip.

My other ride is Celtic Abbey for Pat Fahy in a maiden hurdle. He has a rating of 106 and normally that wouldn’t be good enough to win a contest of this nature at this time of the year.

But it’s not a normal year and it is hard to believe the ground can be on the fast side.

Certainly, in my 19 years in the saddle, I can never remember riding at Galway in October on anything other than soft-at least. Indeed, as an amateur, I lost my claim at the meeting on heavy ground.

Celtic Abbey is what he is, but this looks a really weak race and I have to be at last reasonably optimistic.

Next week, should the weather break, might be a little more busy, although Willie didn’t even make entries for Punchestown on Wednesday.

He does have a handful at Clonmel on Thursday, however, and a few are ready to start at Down Royal on the Friday.

One other thing, I was offered a ride today, but it was aboard Pyromaniac for Tony Martin on the flat at Leopardstown.

He is set to carry 9-13 and I could get down to that, but it was basically impossible with short notice.

I want to make a quick comment about the Champion Stakes at Newmarket last Saturday, won by Noble Mission, by a short head, from Al Kazeem.

To my eyes, Noble Mission edged out a fair bit towards Al Kazeem in the closing stages and there was surely grounds for an inquiry. Indeed, you could even argue the result might have been changed!

Vautour, brilliant at Cheltenham and Punchestown last season, worked at Willie’s on Thursday. I didn’t ride him, but was on another horse in the piece of work.

Was I impressed? Well, let me put it this way, all I saw was him disappearing away in the distance.

Un De Sceaux is nine from nine, seven for Willie. He’s working really well and the girl who rides him all of the time is delighted with the horse.

Faugheen is seven for seven and he’s in great order, with the ultimate aim obviously the Champion Hurdle.

It puzzles me a little, though, that both Faugheen and The New One are shorter in the Champion Hurdle betting than Jezki.

I mean he is the champ and they both have to come up to his level. Maybe, by next January, they will have earned the right to be shorter than him, but not now.

No decision has been made as to whether Annie Power will go over fences. Much deliberation and consideration has been given to this particular topic and I have been asked my opinion. But, of course, it is Willie Mullins who will decide at the end of the day. Two others going nicely at home are Shaneshill - I’d say he will want two and a half over flights - and Briar Hill, despite an indentation on his face, following a fall at Cheltenham.

And one for the notebook is a horse called Nickname Exit. I’ll be surprised if he cannot win a bumper - and a bit with it.

Weighing in on the issue

Last Sunday at Naas, Won Diamond was disqualified from fifth place after his rider, Conor McGovern, failed to weigh in, following the October Handicap. Because the horse only finished fifth the incident largely went under the radar. I’ve highlighted this problem here before, the latest just two weeks ago, and even mentioned the possibility of it happening at Naas. This is likely to occur again, only much more seriously, as long as scales are in the wrong place on racecourses. It is an issue that has to be addressed, sooner rather than later.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox


Saturday, January 23, 2021

  • 5
  • 11
  • 15
  • 19
  • 33
  • 40
  • 8

Full Lotto draw results »