I head to Naas this afternoon for three rides, none of them representing Willie Mullins.
Willie does have a couple of runners, of course, Analifet and Killer Crow, but they are both owned by Gigginstown and so will be partnered by Bryan Cooper.
Analifet is on the comeback trail in a Grade 3 hurdle and, I suppose, it is a trifle ironic that I’ll be attempting to lower her colours aboard Kitten Rock for Edward O’Grady.
Analifet is a French recruit, who won her first two races in this country, at Punchestown and Fairyhouse, when I was lucky enough to be in the plate.
Then she went to Leopardstown at Christmas, in a Grade 2, and was a very short price. But Davy Russell had to pull her up lame after the third and it subsequently emerged she had broken her pelvis.
Anyway, Analifet has made a good recovery and been back in for a good while at Willie’s. She seems in fine form at home, although very free in her work.
Kitten Rock is a useful sort and Edward seems reasonably optimistic about his prospects. He wasn’t disgraced in his last outing when fourth behind Abbyssial, which I rode, in a Grade 1 at the Punchestown festival in May.
I’d imagine Analifet will stride on from the start and I won’t be able to allow her too much rope. The plan will be to try and take her in the closing stages, but whether Kitten Rock will be up to the task I simply don’t know.
I’m on Flight Plan for Dessie Hughes in a two and a half mile maiden hurdle. He was third to Waver at Listowel and I’ll be pleasantly surprised should that prove good enough in what looks a hot race.
Killer Crown runs for Willie and has heavy losses to recoup, having failed at odds of 4-9 at Roscommon.
I end on Sir Harry Cash for Eric McNamara in a handicap chase. I won on him at Limerick and then he ran badly for me at Galway.
He has to carry top weight, but is a fine big horse and that should not be a problem. We know he’s ordinary, but has his chance, in an ordinary contest.
I have a good shot at getting away to the perfect start on Uradel for Willie in a three-year-old maiden hurdle at Navan tomorrow.
He’s a winner of two races on the flat in France, at Deauville and Chantilly, and has had one run for Willie when fifth in a handicap at York in August.
Uradel was too free that day and, generally, is a free-going sort. He’s not a bad horse, though, has schooled well and should go very close.
I’m on Zaidpour for Willie in the Lismullen Hurdle and, with just three rivals, have every reason to think he has a great chance. He lands a Grade 1 every year, seems to go best in the early part of a campaign, should win on ratings and we think will win.
Tony Martin has given me the call for Living Next Door in a handicap hurdle, the horse having a first outing since taking fourth in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham festival in March.
I’ve won a chase and a maiden hurdle on him, but two miles really does look on the short side for the eight-year-old.
I’m more hopeful than confident about Twinlight in the Fortria Chase. The fact the race is run over two miles is a help, rather than even one more furlong, but he is more effective travelling right-handed.
Twinlight likes to race near the front, as do Arnaud and Special Tiara. Will we set it up for Days Hotel?
I’m back with Tony Martin, on Gallant Oscar, in a two miles and seven handicap hurdle. I’d imagine this is a prep run for something bigger down the line over fences, but you would still have to think his chance is rather obvious, off a low rating over flights.
I finish my stint on Blood Cotil in a beginners chase. He’s a bit like Analifet at home, in that he can be free and, as a result, hard on himself.
Blood Cotil ran over fences at Cork in January and was all over a winner when falling at the second last. The big priority now will be a clear round and, hopefully, we will then be in contention heading down to the last.
If Lucky Bridle, a horse with a lot of ability, settles for Paul Townend then he should win a conditions hurdle at Limerick tomorrow.
And the horse I am going to nap for the weekend also runs at Limerick, Uranna in a maiden hurdle. She didn’t win in three outings in France and has been absent for 902 days. Uranna was poised to strike last season, but suffered an injury and Willie has given the mare plenty of time to come to herself. I suppose this is a big enough ask, but I like her a lot.
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