There was a 13 minute delay to the start of the race after Gemstone had to be re-shod but she (Siren’s Song) didn’t get upset by that which was a very good sign of a horse that had made its first start three weeks previously. She will probably go straight to the Epsom Oaks now if all goes well in the meantime and we’ll just keep hacking away between now and then.
She wasn’t even in training last year. She was broken and pre-trained by Dick Brabazon and then sent to a farm in Limerick. She was to come to me at the back end of the season but they decided that she was still a bit backward. Then she was to arrive at the start of January but with the weather, she didn’t make it until the end of the month. So we haven’t had her that long.
She told us fairly early on that she was good though and when the closing dates for entries were coming up last month, I rang the owner to ask if he could put her in for the Oaks. He said ‘what?’ because he was a bit shocked but I was telling him ‘yeah, I think we should go for it’. So he gave the go ahead.
It was a good weekend as, including Friday, we had another two winners, two seconds and two thirds. We were thrilled with Giving Orders in Dundalk on Friday. She had run very well on her seasonal debut and we thought she had improved a good bit so we felt she was entitled to win. She will step up in trip now to a mile and two. She’s had two quick runs so it will be the second week in May before she runs again.
Back on Sunday in Gowran, I did fancy Jenari and he did it very easily. He will go to the Champion Bumper in Punchestown and would go there with a good chance. He’s one to look forward to when he goes hurdling. Clouded Thoughts won the bumper in Clonmel on Thursday night as well so it’s nice to have the horses running well with Fairyhouse, Punchestown and the Guineas coming up.
I have eight runners tomorrow split evenly between Fairyhouse and Cork. Roberto Goldback would be my best chance of a winner in the Imperial Call Chase down south. He’s fine after Cheltenham and having the sun on his back has put him in good form. I’ll just have to wait and see what the ground will be like though. I’d be a little bit apprehensive if it was too quick.
Lady Chatterbox fell last time out so hopefully she’ll get a clear run in the mares’ hurdle while Where’s My Slave was fourth two weeks ago in his first run since September and should improve for that in the handicap hurdle. Ten More is a seven-year-old by Old Vic that is finally making his racecourse debut in the bumper so we hope he runs well.
At Fairyhouse, Native Palm wants really good ground and I’m looking forward to him giving a very good account of himself. He could go close in the maiden hurdle. Wood Lily and Takeyourcapoff will also appreciate the conditions and should go well in the mares’ novice hurdle.
Fionn Tra is in a winners’ bumper and though it’s his first run in nearly two years since the Champion Bumper at Punchestown in 2009 won by Sweeps Hill, he’s a light-framed horse. So, while he might need the run, he should give a decent account of himself and the fact that he won his bumper at this Fairyhouse meeting two years ago is a positive.
Meanwhile, I was on a busman’s holiday in Badminton yesterday for the famous horse trials. These are my roots and I competed here many times. I still love it. There is a very strong Irish representation this year with eight riders and it bodes well for the sport in the country in the future.
We had an Open Day for our owners last Saturday and it went very well. We had more than 100 people there, with two TV crews and plenty of interviews. The owners got to speak to Robert Power and Fran Berry, and look at Pathfork and Laughing Lashes who are just a week away from Guineas action now and in good order.
We will talk all about that, plus the little matter of Punchestown, next week.