There are plenty of flat horses ready for their first runs but there’s no point in flogging them on heavy ground. You have to think of their long term careers. It’s frustrating, but you can’t control the weather.
So I have been off on a bit of ‘R and R’ in France to visit my son and his family, picking up my grandchildren from school and mowing their lawn instead of my own. There is even a photograph on Twitter as proof! I have been here since Monday and am heading home tomorrow.
I was going to go back for the Badminton Horse Trials but they were cancelled because of the heavy rain which was disastrous. Most of the people Ireland would have had in the race to go to the Olympics were going to be there. We had done so well to get 13 qualified to compete so it’s annoying. It’s such a tough test and it would have sorted out the men from the boys in terms of who might have ultimately been picked for the Olympics. If they went well there it would have made it easier.
Anyway, with things being fairly uneventful in my world, it means that there isn’t a lot to report on this week, while it’s a case of ‘ifs, mights and maybes’ with regard to what might run over the coming days. It all depends on how much more rain we get, or if there’s any drying around.
Gimli’s Rock goes first time out over fences at Limerick today. We were delighted with how he schooled first time and they tell me he schooled great again this week. If he reproduces his hurdle form he would be in with a definite shout, but he’s a bit like The Bull Hayes in that it depends which version turns up. They’re very temperamental. It does happen sometimes though that the fences focus the mind and while it looks like that might have been the case with Gimli’s Rock, we won’t have a better handle on that until after today.
We have nothing at Gowran tomorrow because the ground is heavy. I’m not sure yet whether we will run Sin Miedo or Newberry Hill in the two-year-old maiden at the Curragh on Monday. I will make that decision on the morning of the race. Both are nice colts with Sin Miedo having had one run three weeks ago when he was left in the stalls and lost his chance there.
Whether or not Princess Sinead runs in the Athasi Stakes depends on how much more rain falls. I was very pleased with her third behind Chysanthemum at the end of March and the winner went on to win the Alleged Stakes. She will have come on for that run and is in good order.
Bob Le Beau’s participation in the Mooresbridge Stakes also depends on the weather. It will be his first run back after the winter and we’ll just see how that goes before making long term plans for him.
Hurricane Ridge could run in the handicap and would have a good chance of winning in my eyes as he has developed well, while Maid To Master is slated to run in the three-year-old maiden. But again, their participation is ground-dependent.
At Down Royal, I am looking forward to Law Rebel’s first run over hurdles. He has had a nice break and is in great form. He will campaign through the summer and, on his bumper form, will go close to getting that campaign off to a very positive start. It’s his first run since winning a bumper at Killarney last August, which is a long time ago, but I think he’s fit enough.
As long as the ground is good, I’d give Beachdale Lad a chance even though it’s a winners’ hurdle. He was only just beaten by a good horse of Willie’s — Loch Ard — in a maiden at Gowran so that would be good form.
Just Moscow will run in the beginners’ chase. She’s coming back after 16 months on the sidelines because of a leg problem. She was third in a beginners’ chase in Tipperary two years ago and jumps very well.
Absolute Crackers goes in the Cheshire Oaks on Wednesday if the ground is reasonable. I didn’t run in her in Navan because the ground was too soft. She’s in terrific form and is the highest rated filly in the race, so she has to have a great chance. But – and apologies for sounding like a broken record — it all depends on the ground.