Done and dusted with the Cheltenham Festival for another year but what a week it has been! Barring Annie Power tipping up at the last in the mares’ hurdle, it has been fantastic.
But you’re going to have bad luck here and, thankfully, we had more good luck than bad.
It’s been amazing for Willie and I couldn’t be happier for him because I’m his biggest fan. I’m delighted he came to England and showed them just how good he is.
Paul Townend must get a mention, too. We have 150 horses, we need four jockeys, and we’re lucky to have a brilliant second jockey in Paul.
When things go wrong for me, he’s in the right place. He’s had a superb week, with three winners, and I’m delighted because he’s a brilliant fella at the back of it.
Second is nowhere in the Gold Cup. Djakadam tried his heart out. He jumped well, travelled well, did everything you could ask of a horse to do, but just ran into a better horse on the day – an older, harder horse.
The winner’s an eight-year-old, and our horse is only six. He gave me absolutely everything he could, but second is a lonely spot.
Dicosimo ran well for a long way in the Triumph Hurdle but he’s just a big, weak horse, and it was as we suspected: the English juveniles are better than the Irish.
I picked the wrong one in the Country Hurdle. Max Dynamite might have been second had he jumped a bit better, but Wicklow Brave won in a canter.
After going to Newbury to ride him in the Betfair Hurdle and going to Sandown to ride him in the Imperial Cup, I probably should have stuck with the winner, but I didn’t, and he hosed up!
I thought there was that type of run in him. I’ve tipped him more times in this column and I’d say readers are sick of backing him and losing, and missing him today, but at least my judgement was right somewhere along the line.
Black Hercules was very disappointing in the Albert Bartlett. I don’t know why, but he just ran no sort of race. Milsean and Arbre De Vie both ran a blinder, and are nice horses for the future.
Blood Cotil, which I rode in the last race, is one to keep an eye on in the future. He should fallen at the third, and lost his pitch, but there’ll be a big handicap in him somewhere along the way. Turban is worth noting, too. If he gets slower ground, he could go very well in the Topham Chase at Aintree.
It’ll be back to work tomorrow but I’m taking today off. I’m only flying home this morning, will be with the kids for the day, and will hopefully get to watch the Ireland v Wales rugby match. That’ll be the day for me, and I’m really looking forward to it.
I could have gone to Kempton to ride Mydor, for Tony Martin. I rode him to win a three-mile handicap at Leopardstown in January and was just beaten on him next time, in Punchestown. He’s in great form, won’t be inconvenienced by the drop back in trip, and should run a big race.
I’ll be back in action at Limerick tomorrow, and have a couple of good chances. I ride Tarabiyn in the first but you could say he hasn’t had the ideal prep for this because he was in Cheltenham on Tuesday, got balloted out of the Fred Winter, and went home on Wednesday morning. The ground won’t be ideal for him, either, but it’s a small field, and he has a chance, but that’s all.
I ride Lyrical Theatre in the mares’ hurdle and think she’ll win. She ran an absolute blinder behind another of ours, Morning Run, which I rode in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse last time out. On that form, she’ll take beating.
You’d be hoping Vroum Vroum Mag would win the mares’ chase. Instead of bringing her to Cheltenham, we left her at home with this race in mind. She’s a mare with a huge future, and another top-class sort in the Rich Ricci battalion.
I also ride one for Adrian Maguire, Knockraha Pylon, in the handicap hurdle.
I don’t ride that many for him but we have a good strike-rate and hopefully this mare can enhance it.
She won a maiden hurdle at Naas for Johnny Burke, and ran in that good mares’ novice hurdle at Fairyhouse behind Morning Run and Lyrical Theatre.
She was disappointing last week at Clonmel but I think the ground might have been a bit dry for her there. She should handle this heavy ground, looks on a fair enough mark considering the maiden hurdle she won, and has a good each-way chance.
Paul rides Vedettariat for Willie, in a two-mile-seven hurdle at Navan, and he should go close.
There are only six runners, but it’s a decent little race. I won on him last time at Clonmel, and he looks to be going the right way.
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