Oscars fit and fancied, but small field a worry

THE Morgiana Hurdle has cut up quite a bit which is a pity. It’s a real trappy race and I’m not quite sure what is going to make the running which is a bit of a worry as Oscars Well would like a proper pace.

Thousand Stars has made the running in these races in the past, and having run at distances up to three miles, you might imagine that he wouldn’t be best suited by it turning into a sprint. You don’t know for sure what way it will unfold though.

What I can be sure about though is that Oscars Well will strip fitter tomorrow for that run in the north. He is well in himself and likes it around Punchestown, having won his maiden there this time last year.

He is my best chance of a win over the weekend but you’re just not sure what way the race will pan out so you’re hoping for the best in that regards. If we were to get a truly run contest, it would certainly give us a great chance.

I have four runners at Punchestown today with Gimli’s Return making his hurdling debut. He has schooled well so I’m very happy with him on that score. It looks a hot enough race though. I think he’s fit enough to do himself justice and if he’s in the top five I’ll be very happy.

Citizenship and Starling Lady run in the novice handicap hurdle. Like many of mine, Citizenship is considerably fitter for having his first run but the ground is a worry. Starling Lady is having her first run since June and will improve for it.

Our final runner today is Feabhra, who makes her racecourse debut in the bumper. She is a full sister to Meitheamh, although she looks nothing like her - she’s a big, chestnut filly.

She has been showing the right signs at home, should go well and she is ready to run but it looks a good bumper again. In bumpers, you’re always hoping for the best even if you have one that you think is good but I would definitely be hoping that Feabhra will play a prominent role.

This bumper was won by Dunguib three years ago and the year before that, Chasing Cars won it. Unfortunately, Chasing Cars picked up a bad injury after looking promising over fences and when he came back, he never rediscovered his form.

So we have decided to send him point-to-pointing and he has his first taste of that scene tomorrow in the Open at Ballinaboola. It will also be Kate’s first ride in a point-to-point so it will be an exciting day all around. We’ll see how that goes, but hopefully Chasing Cars will rediscover his zest for jumping and racing, as he’s still only nine, rising ten.

Jenari was an impressive winner of his maiden hurdle at Limerick on Sunday, and while you’d have expected him to win, he did it very easily. Noreen McManus came along to watch so it was nice that he performed.

I was very pleased with how he jumped after being a bit slow away from his hurdles first time out. He is entered now in the Royal Bond and likely to run there. I’m certainly hoping he can be that sort of class.

Steps To Freedom also holds an entry but he’s on a break now having been on the go since the summer so will not be taking part. Burn And Turn is entered too but unfortunately she suffered a hairline fracture when running third to Il Fenomeno and Dylan Ross in the For Auction Hurdle at Navan last Sunday.

These are the dangers of racing of course. We just count ourselves fortunate that it isn’t more serious and hope to have her back for Christmas. That is certainly something to look forward to because she will have come on for that run. It was an indication of how highly we rated her, sending her for a Grade 3 in her first hurdle, and we were delighted with the run.

Saludos didn’t really stay the two and a half miles in that heavy ground at Naas this day last week. He’ll see it out on good ground but just got bogged down on that so we will campaign for the moment back over two miles, with Cork the next likely destination.

We’re learning all the time with Mystic Desir. He needs to be held up but maybe not so far back. They went no gallop early on and it turned into a sprint, which didn’t suit at all. The very pleasing aspect of it though was that he stayed galloping all the way to the line so we’ll drop back to maiden company now and hopefully put all we’ve learned about him to good use.

One other horse that pleased was Beachdale Lad in the Navan bumper last Sunday. Again, that turned into a sprint and again, that didn’t suit him. He will be much fitter the next day though and will know what the game is about. Hopefully he will win his bumper before the end of the year.

Finally, I just wanted to thank all the people who came to our Open Day last Saturday morning, and the group of Leopardstown members that arrived on Tuesday. We had around 70 people at Commonstown last Saturday on a beautiful morning, and thankfully, the weather behaved as well when two busloads made the journey during the week.

These events are important. Positive publicity is vital to the industry and we must all try and generate that in the current climate and you never know where the next owner might come from.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox