he Cheltenham Festival is over for another year and it was an up and down sort of week, with Douvan’s defeat in the Champion Chase the big disappointment.
But Thursday was a day I will never forget, becoming the first jockey to ride four winners in one day at the festival.
On the whole, the horses ran really, really well, but there was a great spread of winners across the meeting, and Ireland had a wonderful week.
What we can take away from it is that Irish racing is in a rude state of health.
It was a great week for a lot of people, including Jessie Harrington, Robbie Power, Paul Townend, Gordon Elliott, and Bryan Cooper.
Once again, the Irish people showed themselves in great stead, and I hope the Irish rugby team gives the English as good a hiding today.
Of yesterday’s rides, Bapaume ran a great race in the Triumph Hurdle and, again, there wasn’t much between him and Mega Fortune, but he just wasn’t good enough. Defi Du Seuil ran out a good winner.
In the County Hurdle, Renneti was Renneti. He never wanted to go, and then flew when it was all over, but it was a great performance from Arctic Fire, and brilliant for Paul Townend.
In the Albert Bartlett, August Kate made a bad mistake in the backstraight, and that put an end to her chance.
But the winner, Penhill, is a very good horse, and Paul was brilliant on him.
Djakadam jumped super, and travelled super, but made a bad mistake at the second-last and, but for that, might have been second in the Gold Cup. But I don’t think he would have won it.
All Willie’s weekend runners are tomorrow, one of which is Kate Appleby Shoes in the two-mile-six Grade Three mares’ novice hurdle in Limerick.
She won last time, in Clonmel, but doesn’t have a rating which suggests she should win a race at this level.
However, she seems to be in very good form at home, the trip will suit as she stays well, and the testing ground is also in her favour.
It looks a competitive race but if she could pick up some valuable black type for herself as a broodmare, that would be great.
Daisy’s Gift runs in the Grade Two Mares’ Novice Chase, and is in good form, though confidence would be dented a touch by the fact she fell last time out. I could see her running well, but she has it all to do to beat Slowmotion.
I’ll be in Navan, where I will be on Augustin in the opening novice hurdle. He won well last time out, at Naas, and the form of that race has worked out quite well.
We considered running him in the Albert Bartlett, this week at Cheltenham, but this is probably more his level.
Although there are only four runners, it’s a good little race, and Monbeg Notorious is probably the one to beat, but I’m hopeful.
Retour En France runs in the novice handicap chase final, and I don’t think her mark, of 125, is too bad.
She has improved at home since her win at Fairyhouse, and she will handle the ground. She has a nice weight, jumps like a buck, and should run a big race.