In keeping with other years, Willie wasn’t really keen on me riding this weekend, and when Lareena won it took a bit of pressure off everybody, so I’m sitting out the remainder of the week.
I didn’t object when Willie suggested he might let Paul ride the horses this weekend, but it was lovely to return with a winner, to get that adrenaline rush from it. It felt as good as ever. I love the competitiveness of it, and I suppose it probably puts some people’s minds at ease regarding my well-being, more than anything else.
I don’t know if a few extra rides this weekend was going to make any difference to my fitness – I am where I am now. It was always risk versus reward, and we weren’t going to take any more risks.
I felt good. I have a bit of schooling to do and horses to ride in work, and hopefully will get through the next couple of days.
I’m finished talking about Cheltenham - finished with the previews, interviews and whatever else – and I’m glad it’s all over. I’m tired talking about it. I can’t wait to actually let my riding do the talking now.
On a real positive note, the horses are in great form. We had two runners in Thurles on Thursday and they both won, and yesterday Karalee ran way better than she had in previous outings this season. I think we will have a good few winners this weekend, and things are teeing up nicely for next week.
It’s conceivable Willie could have three winners today in Gowran and one or two in Naas. He could have five winners this weekend, and that would be a great way to be heading into Cheltenham.
Looking at today’s runners, I’d be very hopeful we could start off with a winner with Saglawy in the first race. He ran really well in Thurles on his debut and has improved a good bit at home since. The fourth horse, Force Of Forces, which Willie also trains, improved for the run and won next time, and we’d be hoping he will do the same.
Epicuris, who runs in the second race, was a very good horse on the flat but hasn’t lived up to that over hurdles. He’s unbelievably quirky, and Willie has changed a couple of things at home to try to get him to be more cooperative.
He gallops with his head in the air, almost doing an equine impression of a giraffe. There’s obviously plenty of ability in there but we haven’t yet figured out how to get it out of him and, for me, he’s one to watch. Maybe, having endured a few runs over hurdles and the hardship which goes with that, he might come out a better flat horse in the end.
Pairofbrowneyes has his first run for us, in the Leinster National. We don’t have him all that long. He’s stepping up in trip and may be on a reasonable enough mark, but he’s by Luso so your worry would be real testing ground.
Up For Review should be really hard to beat in the beginners’ chase. He jumped super here the last day but just got tired in the closing stages. He has come out of the race well. Some people might say he could bounce, as that was his first run in a long time, but I think he could bounce four times over and still win.
Our bumper runner, Derby, won a point to point last time out. There’s nothing flashy about him but he’s a lovely horse to look at, and a big, powerful galloper, which will be a plus today at Gowran.
We have five more tomorrow, at Naas, starting with Nessun Dorma in the listed novice hurdle. He hasn’t run since winning at Gowran in June, but he had been declared to run at the Galway festival but picked up an injury on the morning of the race.
He has been working really well recently, but he’s a very pacy individual and the ground could catch him out tomorrow. Even so, I think he’s a horse to follow at Fairyhouse and Punchestown.
We run Msassa in the maiden for four-year-olds, and he jumps well and has been showing us as much at home as any of the four-year-olds that have won lately, and we think he’ll collect.
Orion D’Aubrelle, who runs in the two-mile-three handicap hurdle, hasn’t lived up to the expectations we had for him. He worked okay during the week and might benefit from the run and could be one to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Willie runs two in the bumper. Getoutameway is a staying mare, who will probably go back for a maiden bumper after this. Colreevy has improved since her defeat at Leopardstown. She travelled super that day but looked a bit green when it got down to racing. I think she will have benefited for that experience and will be hard enough to beat.
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