Jenari moving in the right direction

I WAS happy with Oscars Well in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown last Sunday.

In the end, he was beaten by a better horse on the day. Thousand Stars was rated 14lbs higher in the handicap and is a very experienced operator, whereas Oscars Well only won his maiden the same day 12 months previously. So he’s come a long way.

He ran very well and I think he will improve. I also think he might like the ground to be a little better as he looked like he was going to take it and just didn’t quicken. A bigger field and a faster pace would undoubtedly have helped.

Given all that, we are far from downhearted and feel that there is more to come, so we are going to take on the big guns again. We will bypass the Hatton’s Grace and aim for the Istabraq December Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas. As he has shown in the past, he loves it around there.

By that stage, I had been lucky enough to have two winners in consecutive days. I was really pleased with Canaille in Dundalk on Friday. He won really well, while my apprentice, Kevin Sexton, rode a good race.

Canaille has been sold since and heads for a career in Hong Kong but Kevin is still with us thankfully and enjoyed an eventful 24 hours as he had his first ride over hurdles on Saturday. He is becoming too heavy for the flat game now but it will be good to have someone who can take seven pounds off in the yard, and judging by the job he did on Starling Lady, who was second, he will be a fine asset in the jumps game.

I was pleased with Starling Lady but would have to admit being surprised by Citizenship winning that race by nine lengths. I thought the ground wouldn’t suit, it was his first handicap, but he absolutely bolted home. We will stay in handicaps, he’s a novice still, so there are plenty of options, especially as we know he acts on the ground.

The ground probably wasn’t soft enough for Feabhra in the bumper and she should come on for the run.

Of the two runners in Thurles on Thursday, we were completely baffled by Chaperoned’s effort. She came back distressed but we’ve had tests done and nothing has shown up, so it was very disappointing. Galzig ran alright as the ground had really cut up badly by the time her race came about.

Jenari and Glamorous both run in the novice hurdle at Gowran Park today. It looks a good race with Cash and Go, as well as Spring Heeled, who beat Jenari in Galway. I think Jenari should put up a very good show though and if Pink Coat goes out in front like he did when beating Glamorous into third at Cork last month, that will suit.

Jenari won very easy the last time and is definitely moving in the right direction. His jumping improved between his first and second runs and I think it has improved again so I would hope for a bold effort. Glamorous is having her third run and Kevin rides again.

Saville Row runs his first chase today. He’s always looked a chaser so he should come into his own in this sphere. He has done lots of schooling and we’re happy with how he jumps. We actually schooled him as a five-year-old when we considered sending him point-to-pointing but changed our minds, so he should be fine.

Saluting is an interesting one in the bumper. It’s his first run back since March but hopefully he’s fit enough and this is a nice chance for him. He has plenty of experience, and the form is good, being beaten by less than five lengths in both his previous bumpers.

Jetson takes his chance in the Monksfield Hurdle at Navan tomorrow and that’s a very good race. Rebel Fitz, Texas Jack, Mount Benbulben, Make A Track… they’re all in it! But Jetson is well and his form from the win in Cork was franked the other day when Daring Article won.

This is a big step up but he has plenty of experience over hurdles, which is definitely a factor in his favour. I expect a good run but as I said to the owner, we’ll know afterwards what type of plans we’ll be making for the rest of the year.

Starling Lady makes a quick reappearance and should come on for the run last weekend when it looked like she stayed well. I would hope that she would run well but like all these handicap hurdles, it’s competitive.

I have two first-timers in what is a good maiden hurdle. True Character is having his first run for 11 months after fracturing his knee while Play The Market is one I’m really looking forward to. Two miles is a bit short for him. I keep forgetting he’s only a four-year-old; he’s such a big horse.

His future will be over fences and over further than two miles. Anything he does now will be a bonus.

Meanwhile, Bostons Angel goes to Sandown for an intermediate three mile chase. There were no opportunities over three miles for him over here and I really need to get a run into him after his unfortunate unseating of Robert at Down Royal. He was like a lunatic the next day, absolutely full of himself so this is a good opportunity for him.

He’s in great form and while I haven’t schooled him since, it was very unusual for him to make such a bad mistake. We will school him next week before travelling but I have no worries about him on the jumping front.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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