Ruby Walsh: Nichols Canyon can keep the scoreboard ticking in Neptune

What a remarkable start to the meeting! Unbelievable. You know you’re not going to win them all, or at least you think something is going to go wrong — and it did when Annie Power fell.

That aside, though, it was fantastic, the kind of day you dream of.

It could have been a clean sweep — should have been— but I’d have settled for three winners when I went in there yesterday morning, there’s no doubt about that.

It’s always disappointing when you’re going to win a race and you fall at the last, but I’m not going to be greedy.

I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t admit the reception I got from the crowd after each of the three victories could really get you going, but I’m also long enough in this game to know you have to go and ride the next one — you have to stay somewhat level.

Douvan was very good in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. I had great faith in him but he was keen all the way and if he had settled, he’d have been unbelievably impressive. In fairness to him, he answered the questions we asked of him — he picked up, went away and won well.

It was a great performance, and we weren’t surprised it was Shaneshill who followed him home. That victory gives me great confidence going into today’s novice race.

What a great story for the O’Connell family for Un De Sceaux to win the Arkle. He settled lovely, jumped super and quickened up smartly from the second-last to the last. He then jumped the last really well, and sprinted away to win. Magic.

I made up my mind quite some time ago that I was going to make the running in the Champion Hurdle, and Faugheen jumped really well barring the second last. He has a super turn of foot, and quickened up really well to put the race to bed. I don’t like comparing him to Hurricane Fly — it’s not fair — but he’s a very, very good horse.

It was all going so well, something had to burst our bubble, and that happened when Annie Power fell in the Mares’ Hurdle. She was home and hosed. She had settled really well, for her. But, I didn’t see the same stride as her — I thought there was another half-stride in it but she came out of my hands.

I really can’t complain about the one that got away, and it’s going to be very hard to live up to that today.

My best rides were all yesterday, but I have chances, and am hopeful we could be among the winners again.

I start off on Nichols Canyon in the Neptune. He has surprised me, particularly so in Leopardstown last time out. I made the running on him then but I can’t see myself doing the same this time. He stays really well and he’s not slow, and the fact there are only 10 runners will suit me.

Windsor Park was staying on well behind me the last day, and the step up in distance will suit him, while Parlour Games has a nice turn of foot. But, I like Nichols Canyon and am really looking forward to him. He’s always been a horse which has saved his best for the track, and there should be more to come from him.

I’m on Adriana Des Mottes in the RSA Chase, but Don Poli would be our number one. He’s in great form, has done everything asked of him over fences. He beat Apache Stronghold last time, and Wounded Warrior on debut, and is very much the one we have to beat.

Adriana Des Mottes ran very well the last day, over two miles five, but wasn’t good enough for Apache Stronghold and Valseur Lido. There seems to be a lot of pace in the race and if she could pick up some of the pieces, and maybe nick a place, I’d be delighted.

The Coral Hurdle is the Coral Hurdle — a typically competitive big-field handicap hurdle in which plenty of luck will be needed. I ride Daneking for Willie. He’s been disappointing this year, but won well at Fairyhouse last Easter and if he settles into a rhythm and jumps well, he could run well at a massive price — but it’s only a ‘could’.

Willie also runs Un Atout, who hasn’t run for a while and is back over hurdles now. He’ll have to jump slickly, having run over fences twice. He has an each-way chance in a wide-open race, but I think Bryan Cooper, who rides him, could have picked the wrong one as the other Gigginstown runner, Marinero, has a great chance.

The Champion Chase looks difficult but I fancy Sire De Grugy. There’s been a lot of chat about Sprinter Sacre. Barry Geraghty is very, very happy with him, but, to me, it’s a concern that he hasn’t won a race in almost two years.

He has questions to answer, unlike Sire De Grugy, who was good at Chepstow the last day. He’s the defending champion, he likes it around here, a strongly run race will suit him, which Special Tiara should ensure.

My mount, Champagne Fever, seems to be in good form, but he has to run a career-best to win. We know he goes well around here I’m hoping for a good run.

I’m on Buiseness Sivola in the Fred Winter and I’ve been very happy with him recently. He was disappointing at Leopardstown at Christmas but I think there was an excuse for that. His first run, behind Prussian Eagle at Gowran, was very good.

He jumps well, should handle the ground, stays well and has a chance in what is another really wide-open race. I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him each-way. The ground will suit Willie’s other horse, Verawal, but I think he’s more exposed.

In the Bumper, Patrick has chosen Bordini, which would make him look our number one. I’ve gone for Bellshill over Livelovelaugh, but it was a tough call and I could have gone either way. He has to improve to win but I think he’s a lot better than he was at Christmas. He hasn’t missed a beat in work, is fit and ready to run, and should go well. But, Bordini is definitely number one.

Livelovelaugh is the dark horse among Willie’s seven, and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him at a big each-way price. Outside of ours, there’s a lot of word for Gordon Elliott’s horse, Jetstream Jack.

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