Bellshill, one of four runners in the race for Willie, travelled, jumped and looked a winner in the Irish Grand National for so far, but ultimately threw it away going to the last.
He finished fourth and was placed fifth, but he’s in great form at home and if I was riding I would probably be riding him.
Djakadam ran a great race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he’s struggling to win a race. Killultagh Vic didn’t jump well in that race and was pulled up and has to overcome that, while Total Recall ran in the English National last week and it’s going to be hard for him on this kind of a turnaround.
Of our runners, I would be going for Bellshill, but Road To Respect is probably the form horse and the one they all have to beat.
Willie runs three in the opening handicap hurdle but when we declared these horses yesterday morning it hadn’t been raining as heavy in Carlow as it was later in the day, and the three of them would want better ground.
They’ve all been working well on the drier gallop at home in the last week.
We’re hoping Katie O’Farrell could get the same tune out of Hey Little Boy as she got out of Low Sun the other day, at Fairyhouse.
John Fitzpatrick rides Steel Wave, but we’ve struggled to improve him on his previous form, while Caro Des Flos was second under Niall Kelly two runs ago and we’re hoping he can spark something in him again.
We run two in the Louis Fitzgerald, and Paul rides Pravalaguna, who ran a blinder last week at Fairyhouse. She was a staying-on fourth in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle and hopefully she can build on that.
I think Sire Du Berlais is the one we all have to beat – and he will be hard to beat – but Good Thyne Tara, if she can jump fluently, is a mare with a lot of ability and could go well.
She chased home Samcro in a bumper one day but needs to jump better than she has to date over hurdles.
Next Destination got outpaced in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham but stayed on really well to snatch third place behind Samcro in the dying stages, and he should appreciate the step up to three miles for the Grade One novice hurdle.
He has been in great order at home since but, that said, he’s never been a very good work horse, and he is working as he always works.
I think Ballyward, who was fourth at Cheltenham, is open to more improvement. He didn’t have the profile of an Albert Bartlett horse as he only had two runs under his belt, and to run fourth was a great effort from him.
Brahma Bull raced too keenly in Cheltenham and failed to finish out his race, which is completely out of character as it would normally be the other way.
Next Destination is definitely our number one, then Ballyward and Brahma Bull, but you also have to look at the opposition. Delta Work, Discorama and Blow By Blow all have a chance on their best form, and Kilbricken Storm is the Albert Bartlett winner.
I fancy Next Destination and think he’s our nap of the day but, at around 7-1, Ballyward is an each-way bet.
We run four in the Champion Bumper and Patrick has stuck with Blackbow, and I can see why. Cheltenham is a very excitable place for any horse and it seemed to get to him.
But he seems to be in great form at home, he should settle better here, and I can understand why he Patrick may think he can reverse Cheltenham for with those that finished in front of him that day.
The rain that has fallen will suit Carefully Selected, who finished second at Cheltenham and stays really well. Tornado Flyer ran a blinder when third at the Festival, but I don’t know how he can improve to beat Carefully Selected.
Relegate is a brilliant little mare and Katie gave her a great ride to win at Cheltenham. She is unbeaten in three runs, is in great order, and I can’t see any reason she won’t go well again.
Outside of our runners, Felix Desjy caught my eye at Cheltenham. He ran far too free that day, and if he was a little more relaxed I could see him running a big race too.
We run three in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase. Polidam didn’t land a blow in the Topham Chase at Aintree, and it was the same for Demi Sang in the novice handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
I think Patricks Park could be the best of ours. He ran well the last day, at Fairyhouse, and should be suited by the longer trip. Another unexposed novice, Blast Of Koeman, could be his biggest danger.
To end a very busy day, we have four in the bumper, led by Colreevy. I thought Masons Daughter got hemmed in a bit last week at Fairyhouse, and she could improve, but I have no doubt, on her work, that Colreevy is the best of ours.
She was seventh in the Cheltenham Bumper, and that’s rock-solid form. Patrick rides her, and I’d expect a big run.
Getoutameway will have improved from Fairyhouse the last day, as will Sapphire Lady, and Gordon’s mare, Tintangle, was very good the other day, when beating Masons Daughter. But I still think Colreevy will be good enough to get back to winning ways.