He ran a blinder in the four-miler in Cheltenham. He was prominent all the way and probably just got run out of it close home. He jumps really well.
It’s a competitive race but I think a novice might win it, something like Lots Of Memories or Perfect Gentleman.
A lot of the handicappers in it are exposed and plenty of them want better ground than we’re likely to get either.
So, you’ll want to be going for a horse that has shown some bit of form on winter ground.
Perfect Gentleman has plenty of age for a novice as a 10-year-old. I’ve only ridden him once, when he beat Sadler’s Risk in Cork last November. That’s not bad form.
He fell in the Drinmore after that and was second to Gilgamboa at Christmas before being fourth in Cheltenham. He stays and has shown enough pace to win over 2½ miles so, with luck in running, has a great chance.
With Bryan Cooper suspended I could have ridden Valseur Lido in the Ryanair Gold Cup (4.20) tomorrow but opted for Gitane Du Berlais.
She beat Irish Saint in Sandown with no five-year-old allowance.
She gets that allowance here and, with the mare’s allowance as well, is getting 15lbs off Valseur Lido. Irish Saint was just behind Valseur Lido in the JLT.
She was very good in France when Jacques Ricou rode her. She only had 9-10 on her back but bolted in in a decent hurdle race. It’s a toss of a coin but I think with the weight she’s getting, she could be hard to beat.
It’s a very good race with Gilgamboa, Apache Stronghold and Valseur Lido. Without Don Poli, Vautour and Un De Sceaux, these are the best novices around in Ireland or England.
I rode Valseur Lido in work Thursday. He worked well but the massive weight allowance and likely testing ground is what swung me towards Gitane.
Morning Run misses the Grade 1 mares’ race (3.20) as she had a hold up but Willie still has three.
Patrick was always likely to ride Lyrical Theatre as he knows the owners. She was a bit disappointing in Limerick but seems to be in good form since. Paul rides Uranna, who’s a good stayer.
I’m on Petite Parisienne and I thought she ran well in the Triumph. A four-year-old, Adriana Des Mottes, won it in last year so that’s not a negative. I think Petite will stay. I haven’t ridden her very much, but I sat on her on Thursday morning and she worked fine. She gets a good allowance which is a help.
This is one of the most competitive renewals there has been of this race, though Annie Power beat Glens Melody two years ago, which was good enough form!
Bitofapuzzle is guaranteed to make it a good test of stamina. Jessie Harrington’s pair, Keppols Queen and Rock On The Moor, are good mares as well.
I’m looking forward to riding Petite Parisienne but it looks on paper like there could be a few coming down to the last together.
Shaneshill (3.50) had a great run in Cheltenham when he was second to Douvan. He gets in here with no real penalties.
He’s had an up-and-down sort of year but he’s in really good form.
I think he ran a better race in Cheltenham than Outlander did and that was off a good lay-off too. He hadn’t run since early December and should improve a little for the run.
McKinley carries the Grade 1 penalty but was disappointing in Cheltenham. Maybe a smaller field in novice company might suit him better.
Shaneshill has his stablemates to beat but I think he’s my best ride on Sunday and should beat them.
In the opener, Unic De Bersy (2.20) hasn’t run since finishing second in a maiden hurdle at Clonmel 17 months ago. Prior to that, he won a bumper in Tipperary.
He went okay in a schooling hurdle at Thurles 11 days ago. It’s a long enough lay-off he’s coming off but we’re happy with him.
He wasn’t a bad horse and should run a good enough race but I think he’ll improve for the run all the same.
Willie has three in the Tattersalls bumper (5.30). Patrick rides Castello Sforza.
I rode him in a schooling bumper in Thurles last week and he went well, but it’s not a race Willie has much luck in.
It’s a sales race and Willie doesn’t tend to rush his horses, so it comes on us quick. We have a poor record in it but hopefully this fella will put that right.
In Cork, David Casey is on board On His Own (4.35) in what looks a match with Roi Du Mee in the Imperial Call Chase. He hasn’t won since he won the Bobbyjo last year and probably deserves to get his head in front. He ran a blinder in the Gold Cup but that said, Roi Du Mee is a fairly prolific winner at this grade.
Poker Gold (1.55) won in Dundalk but would have to prove he stays. Danny rides and he is also on Tennis Cap (5.10). He should surely improve from his first run back in Naas after a two-year lay-off. That was a very disappointing run. He will have to improve an awful lot but we think he’s an awful lot fitter.
Danny also gets the leg up on Argentino (3.30), who is working well but was very disappointing in Naas last time after winning his maiden in Clonmel. He would need to pick up on that.