Mares' Novice Hurdle,
JLT Chase, 1:30pm
Un De Sceaux
Ryanair Chase 2:50pm
I knew the moment I fell I was in a bit of trouble. Unfortunately, I injured the same leg I broke earlier in the season and will have to wait until next week to find out the full extent of it. It’s extremely frustrating, and another challenge to face over the coming weeks.
If there was a positive note to end the day on, it was great to see Katie winning the Bumper on Relegate.
She gave her a great ride.
It’s never the same when you’re not involved, but I’ll be looking on with as much interest as ever at today’s racing.
Invitation Only should have been my first ride of the day, and I think he has a good shout in the JLT Novices’ Chase. It’s a race that has cut up a bit, but it still looks like a good race.
I thought Invitation Only would beat Death Duty and Monalee last year in a hurdle race in Navan but he picked up an injury.
He has been in good form over fences this season and I like the way he finished off his race when a close third behind Monalee last time out, at Leopardstown.
He looks well and is a horse I always thought had a good race in him. The trip will suit, and the ground isn’t an issue, but his odds are skimpy enough.
On that basis, I wouldn’t put anyone off having a small each-way interest on our other horse, Kemboy.
He ran well in last year’s Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at this meeting, has taken well to chasing, has been working well, and should give his supporters a good run for their money.
We don’t have any runner in the Pertemps Final but Sort It Out came home well at Leopardstown on his last start, and I think he could be a big player in what is a very competitive race.
Un De Sceaux was very good in last year’s Ryanair Chase, has been in very good form this season and has improved a lot since his win in the Clarence House at Ascot.
There was plenty of rain due last night and today and that can only play to his strengths and detract from Cue Card’s chance.
Cue Card ran a super race last time out, and I presume he will be forcefully ridden once more. That presents its own complications when you’re riding a horse like Un De Sceaux but that’s just a situation that will have to be managed.
He was impressive when winning the race last year, conditions are more in his favour this year, and I hope he can follow up.
We run four in the Stayers’ Hurdle, and I had opted for Bacardys.
Of our runners Penhill has been the most prominent in the betting for a long time. He won last year’s Albert Bartlett but hasn’t run since Punchestown in April and I think he could struggle on the ground, having had no prep.
Three-mile hurdles are very testing and I’d be worried that could catch him out. Paul won the Albert Bartlett on him and wasn’t going to desert him.
Bacardys hasn’t taken to chasing as well as hoped but he has some high-class hurdle form to his name. I rode him in last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, but he was all but brought down at an early stage. I think this race could be run to suit, and he should go well.
Augusta Kate was a little unlucky in last year’s Albert Bartlett, in which she made a bad mistake.
Last time out, she ran well behind Presenting Percy in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park and I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran well today.
Let’s Dance won the Mares’ Novice Hurdle last year but hasn’t been in the same form since and needs to reproduce her very best to get involved.
I’m a huge fan of Sam Spinner, and think he will take beating. What he did in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot as just a five-year-old was terrific, and physically he can only be improving.
I had rated Laurina, who runs in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle, as my best chance of a winner today. She’s very different to Limini, who won this in 2016, and not as experienced as Let’s Dance, who won the race in 2017, but is a really nice prospect. She will love the rain, will improve for her two runs to date for us, and is the pick out of our runners.
Salsaretta is a mare we’ve always thought a lot of, but we’ve struggled to get a run into her. She can still run a good race, but it’s a big ask to win this without a prep.
Cut The Mustard is also a mare we like but her jumping let her down in her first couple of races for us. She was better last time, when winning at Punchestown, but will have to improve again.
Leading British runner Maria’s Benefit has been in great form. She likes to go a good gallop and that should help Laurina.
We don’t have a runner in the last race, but I see Squouateur and Mall Dini head the market. They are long-standing maidens over fences and for that reason I’d be encouraging punters to oppose them if they could find a little value further down the list.