Dragon Pulse set to continue career in France

The big news from Commonstown today is that we are losing Dragon Pulse, who will race in France for the coming year.

The first thing I must say though is that it’s not as if there has been any falling out or that Dr Tan isn’t happy. If that were the case, he wouldn’t be sending me two more two-year-olds to train for him.

This is about Dragon Pulse and the fact that Dr Tan feels there will be more opportunities for him in France than in Ireland during the course of the campaign.

I’m not going to lie and say I’m not disappointed. Of course I am, because Dragon Pulse is a good horse that won two of his four races – one of which was a Group 2 contest – and was second in two more, including the Group 1 National Stakes. So he was a nice one to have and to look forward to as a three-year-old.

So it’s a pity, definitely, but that’s racing. It’s swings and roundabouts. What goes around comes around. There are all the clichés! But they’re true. Good horses always move on and you just hope another one comes along. I’ve got plenty to look forward to.

Like Cheltenham, and, with that in mind, I’m glad the BHA have seen some sense with the whip rules. They had to do something and while I’m not certain that they’ve still got it right, it is definitely a step in the right direction. It has to be better than what was in place for the last few months.

I was getting worried about it with Cheltenham in mind because it had to be in the back of the jockeys’ minds. At least the English-based jockeys, and the likes of Ruby and Barry that ride over there regularly, had experience of riding under the rules. For the Irish-based pilots, it would have been completely different to what they were used to and if they were thinking about that, it might have had an effect on how they rode a race.

If a horse wasn’t going well early in a race, they would normally have given it a couple of slaps to wake it up. Under the old rules, they couldn’t because you only had six left. That was a bit of a problem for Robert with Bostons Angel in Sandown. He needed to be gotten out of his slumber but Robert couldn’t take the chance. At least now, the stewards can see that one or two like that are necessary to act as a wake-up call. So I’m relieved in that regard.

Johnny’s Legacy just failed to make it two-in-row at Dundalk yesterday week. He is prone to idling a bit in front and was just touched off but I have to be delighted with him as he has gone up a stone in a few weeks.

Gimli’s Rock ran a bit sweeter at Gowran, while I was delighted with Operating finishing second in the bumper. We’ll go for another bumper in around three weeks. He is well schooled but won’t run in a hurdle until next autumn. He’s actually a lovely, big chaser in the making.

I was hoping Maller Tree would win and he did it well. His form entitled him to do so. The horse that finished fourth in his first maiden, Competitive Edge, won on Wednesday so that looks like it might have been a fairly good race.

He might have one more run beforehand, but he’s bound for Fairyhouse and Punchestown. In the long term, he might make a Galway Hurdle horse as he goes on good ground. He must be a good horse to have won at Navan on Sunday as he hated that ground.

We saw a big improvement from Director’s Forum in his Punchestown bumper on Wednesday to be third and I would say there is more improvement in him, while Starling Lady was having her first run in ages and will come out again next week for a ladies handicap hurdle with Kate.

Born To Benefit and Feabhra both take their chances in ITBA Fillies’ Scheme novice hurdle at Fairyhouse today. Both could run nice races but there are a couple of good horses in it.

We’re hoping for an improved effort from Bostons Angel from the Hennessy when he runs in the Bobbyjo Chase. We put blinkers on him and they seem to have done the trick as he has schooled and worked well. We thought the cheek pieces had done the same of course so we won’t know for sure until tomorrow.

He has to shoulder a Grade 1 penalty but what I’m hoping for is a competitive effort. I’ve said before how he needs two good runs to get into gear and this will be his second after having to miss the Lexus. So the hope is that he will be in fine fettle for the Irish Grand National, and Punchestown after that.

Play The Market hasn’t run since Christmas but I think I have him plenty fit enough for the maiden hurdle at Naas tomorrow.

Like Bostons Angel, Saludos’ last run wasn’t great. On the ratings he’s not well in with a few of his opponents, but he likes Naas and seems in good form so we’re hoping for a better effort.

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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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