I hope Gowran Park today survives an inspection, because the exciting Un de Sceaux looks a penalty kick in a Grade 2 hurdle.
Earlier in the week, it looked as if there might be plenty of opposition, but the race has cut up rather badly and he is hard to oppose. His record now is six from six and his last outing was when romping to a 53 lengths success at Navan.
Look, we all know this isn’t going to reveal any more about the horse, but it is a nice pot in its own right and let the future take care of itself.
What I can tell you is we are delighted with him at Willie’s, that he is great shape and two miles on heavy ground will be no problem.
Eddie O’Connell owns Un de Sceaux and I ride Turban for him in a Grade 2 over fences, so he might well enjoy a really big day.
Turban was supposed to go to Clonmel on Wednesday for what was a much easier assignment, but that meeting was abandoned.
He won a handicap in fine style at Fairyhouse, off a mark of 140, and the handicapper now rates him on 151, which puts the seven-year-old right in the mix.
He will love the ground and is entitled to enjoy a fitness edge over both Bog Warrior and Aupchrlie, who are returning from long breaks.
It is still a different ball game compared to Clonmel, but there is no reason why Turban won’t run a big race.
Tony Martin, of course, has also declared Bog Warrior for the Boyne Hurdle at Navan tomorrow and that is perfectly understandable, with Cheltenham looming large on the horizon.
I’ve gone with Willie’s French-import, Florishwells d’Ete, in preference to Wood Breizh, in the four year-old maiden hurdle.
She won on the flat in her native country and is working fine and schooling well. She is also getting a valuable 7lbs, so I’m hoping will prove hard to beat.
Willie runs the disappointing Andiamos in a handicap hurdle and, as I can’t seem to get a tune out of him, have left this to David Casey.
Willie has decided not to run Champagne Fever at Navan tomorrow, so I have just two rides for him and Some Tikket for Dessie Hughes.
Willie’s thinking was that we are getting tight enough to Cheltenham now and didn’t want to run him on very testing ground. He does seem happy with Champagne, however.
My day begins on Daneking in a maiden hurdle. He was beaten into second by Waxies Dargle at Fairyhouse last time and you’d have to say was a little unlucky.
He stumbled badly a stride after the final flight and that ended his chance. He’s not the easiest horse to ride, taking a fair old grip, but is beginning to show nice improvement and should be hard to beat.
If Zaidpour puts his best foot forward for me then he is more than capable of winning the Boyne Hurdle.
Zaidpour, ran a shocker at Gowran on his latest outing, never rose a gallop, and I can offer absolutely no explanation for such a limp effort.
But we have been happy with him since and he did a lovely piece of work during the week. If he performs as he did at Gowran then won’t win, but will certainly be good enough on a lot of his other form.
Some Tikket has it to prove in a Grade 2 over fences, but is a grand ride to get at the same time. Realistically, Bright New Dawn and Mallowney look too good for him, but we’ll be doing our best.
Willie unveils Quevega’s brother, Vivega, in the bumper. He has a lot to live up to to be anywhere near as good as his famous sister.
The surface shouldn’t present a problem, it wouldn’t for Quevega, and Vivega is definitely working well enough to win.
Just a quick glance back at Vautour and Ballycasey, who both won Grade 1 races at Leopardstown last Sunday.
I’ve heard it said, and also read, that Vautour got an easy lead on his way to beating The Tullow Tank, but I don’t see it like that at all.
I would have liked it if he had settled a bit better, but Vautour bucked out, made all and jumped brilliantly.
Danny Mullins, on The Tullow Tank, and I took an eternity to pull up our horses and I wouldn’t fall off my chair if they both won at Cheltenham. The fast pace of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle will clearly suit Vautour.
Ballycasey jumped and travelled great, is very straightforward and may well come on plenty between now and the festival.
And I must finish with Last Instalment, who greatly impressed me in the Hennessy. The pace was slow, at least in the early part of the race, and that was hardly in his favour.
Last Instalment’s jumping was impeccable and I was blown away by his power. Following him reminded me of Denman.
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