A pretty good week, despite the weather

You would have to call it a pretty good week with three winners before racing at Downpatrick last night.

There were plenty that didn’t perform to their best too, but that can be attributed to the heavy ground.

The one disappointment came in Chester on Wednesday but Absolute Crackers didn’t handle the track at all. She was drawn out wide in the Cheshire Oaks and from the moment she jumped off she was leaning out to the right. You just can’t do that around there and so, despite being the highest rated filly in the race, she couldn’t give a true effort. We will wait for the ground to improve back at home now and find a Listed race for her.

Gimli’s Rock got us off to a great start in Limerick last Saturday. He had jumped well at home but I have to say he jumped super altogether. He was very good. He looked like giving up at the top of the hill and suddenly came alive again. He probably won a little cosier than the three quarters of a length margin at the end might suggest.

There’s a hurdle race for him at the end of the month in Cork, followed by a chase in Roscommon and a flat race at the end of June in Down Royal. Now that we have him back on track, he’ll mix it. I know he seemed to lose interest in his last few hurdle races but he is only six and has made nearly €200,000 in prize money, so he’s done very well and doesn’t owe us anything.

I had no runners on Sunday but Monday was so frustrating at The Curragh as the ground was terrible. Sin Miedo got stuck in the mud as did Hurricane Ridge but he actually ran a very good race.

I was very pleased with Maid To Master too. She raced very prominently for a long way before tiring a bit. Bob Le Beau was going great until he turned into the straight and then got stuck in the mud. Notice a pattern?

There’s nothing you can do about it of course, but it doesn’t make it any less head-wrecking. At least their fitness will improve for it. Maid To Master will be back out quickly in Naas next week but Bob Le Beau and Sin Miedo will wait for good ground. Hurricane Ridge will run in another handicap over a mile and a quarter, preferably on a bit better ground.

In Down Royal, because it was actually good to firm before it rained, it was quite slippy. Law Rebel skidded a bit early on and lost his nerve jumping after that. It was happening a bit quick for him but he’ll learn from it and will be much better next time.

I was thrilled with Beachdale Lad who was second to a good horse of Willie’s, Terminal over hurdles. It was a brilliant run for what is essentially a staying chaser in the making. He will step up to three miles at the end of the month in Cork.

Just Moscow, What An Article and Clouded Thoughts ran in the novice chase but they all want good ground. Clouded Thoughts is none the worse for his fall.

Pontiac kept at it in the handicap chase at Punchestown on Tuesday, having been near the front most of the way and I was pleased with his run but Paradis De Thaix never got in a blow. Mellifont Abbey hated the ground in the bumper.

I was very pleased with Operating’s win in Wednesday’s bumper at Punchestown. They went no gallop at all and he showed plenty of foot for what, like Beachdale Lad, is a three-mile chaser in the making. It says a lot for him that he could win a bumper in those circumstances. He’s going to the field now and will be back in the autumn.

The Quiet Hawk didn’t really want to know at Clonmel the following day but Glamorous was good in winning her maiden hurdle. She was entitled to win it on her flat ratings but I suppose the fact she was coming off a five-month holiday explained why she didn’t go off at a shorter price. We’ll try and win whatever comes up first for her, a flat race or a winners-of-one hurdle.

Beir Bua is my only runner today at Kilbeggan in a handicap hurdle. He has enough weight but if the ground isn’t too heavy, he’ll have a good chance. If it rains again and is as heavy as it was when he was pulled up at Punchestown, that chance will recede rapidly.

Tomorrow, Princess Sinead and Remember Alexander run in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial. Remember Alexander will love the ground while Princess Sinead should be alright in it as long as it doesn’t get any worse. It’s only soft at the moment so that would be okay. I wouldn’t rule her out. Actually, I’d like to think that both of them will run very well.

King Ferdinand runs in the mile handicap and if he runs as well as he did in Naas, when he was third over seven furlongs, he’ll go very close.

Why But Why is in very good form and has gotten a good bit stronger but is coming off his winter break in the maiden hurdle. He should run well. Somethingdifferent is coming back for a first run in nearly 18 months after injury. He’s in very good form.

Masterofdeception is a lovely big four-year-old I bought at the Derby Sale last year. He’s a smashing horse who did a good gallop at Punchestown on Wednesday. I’m happy with him and if he’s not too green I’d give him a good shot of getting in the frame.


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