Disappointing Bostons Angel to miss Cheltenham

The first thing I must do is assure readers that Steps To Freedom is absolutely fine and I really just had a change of heart with regards to running him at Dundalk last night.

The rumour mill always goes into overdrive at the slightest hint of a hiccup but there is nothing the matter. I just thought better of running him at this stage and he will work next week.

One horse definitely not going to Cheltenham is Bostons Angel. He was very disappointing in the Hennessy but I think it’s just a case of him being match rusty and he wouldn’t be right for a tilt at the Gold Cup.

I have found with him that he needs two runs to get going and he hasn’t gotten two proper runs year. He unseated Robert at Down Royal first time out and then ran no sort of race at Sandown. He missed out on the Lexus at Christmas because he just wasn’t right in himself, so it just wasn’t a good enough preparation. It’s extraordinary how that RSA Chase really seems to take it out of horses. We have seen it in the past and it looks like it’s the case here again despite the fact that he had no run after that last season.

We’ll go now for the Bobbyjo Chase in Fairyhouse and let’s hope we see an improvement there. There’s also the Irish Grand National and the three-mile chase at Punchestown which is a route you could head down so there are plenty of options.

I would guess that a hard race left more of a mark on Burn And Turn as well than I initially thought it might as she ran very flat indeed. People think the trainer should know but it isn’t always the case. She looked to me like she had come out of her win at Leopardstown alright but you don’t ask them a serious question at home and it’s only when you are racing that you know for sure.

The ground was very heavy that day and she had to work hard even though she won fairly well. She is fine though and we will likely go to Fairyhouse next.

The ground was just too soft for Espresso Lady so I’d be happy to draw a line through her run. Rear View ran well to be third in the bumper. He’s probably not a bumper horse, as he just wouldn’t have the gears. He’s probably more of a two-and-a-half mile hurdler.

Feabhra and Mystic Desir put in much improved performances. So too did Gimli’s Rock, who although he was tenth, was beaten less than six lengths in a handicap hurdle. I was delighted with that run and he was much more interested. When he’s interested and fired up, he’s a good horse.

He’s difficult to place though given that he has to lump around so much weight in handicaps. So we’re stepping him back into graded company again today for the Red Mills Hurdle. We’ll see how that goes and take it from there.

Saville Row landed up on the second fence and said ‘Oh God, I don’t like this’ and just downed tools. He’s a bit of a wuss really which is unfortunate. I will probably bring him back to hurdles just to try and restore his confidence.

Johnny’s Legacy won in Dundalk and he deserved that after being just touched off the week before. He only barely held on though as he doesn’t do a whole lot once he hits the front. So we put cheek pieces on him last night just to help him concentrate. I think there is definitely more improvement in him but he’s just a bit leery.

Apart from Gimli’s Rock, I have just two other runners over the weekend, with Operating also travelling to Gowran Park today for the bumper. He’s a half-brother to Saluting. He’s a bit of a baby but is very nice.

Maller Tree makes the journey to Navan tomorrow. He has good bumper form and it was a decent run to be third to Aupcharlie in his first run over hurdles. We would definitely like to think that he will shed his maiden status sooner rather than later.

I was at the schooling races in Fairyhouse yesterday and I must say they did a brilliant job, so congratulations to Peter Roe and his team. I brought four horses – Play The Market, Director’s Forum and two unraced horses - and I was very pleased with all of them. Schooling races have become more common in recent years and they really are very useful.

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