Jetson ran another brilliant race on Thursday, but just came up against a very well handicapped horse in Battle Group. Counting Brendan Powell’s claim, he was giving the winner 15lbs. It was a tremendous effort and a very good follow-up to his Cheltenham third.
Punchestown is an option but he might wait for the three mile handicap hurdle in Haydock on the same card as the Swinton Hurdle in five weeks.
Cailin Annamh was excellent in the mares’ bumper yesterday and again, Legacy Gold just quickened up faster turning into the straight. Like Jetson, she was a clear second. She will take in one of the bumpers at Punchestown before going hurdling over the summer.
Back to Fairyhouse and Operating ran a blinder to be fourth in the Grade 2 novice hurdle on Sunday, with the likes of Sizing Gold a long way behind. Oscars Well probably ran his race in the Powers Gold Cup and there wouldn’t be any complaints. There is just a question about whether he stays two and a half miles.
On Tuesday One Fine Day won the Grade 3 juvenile hurdle. Many considered it a shock result but while the other three have been looking at each other while she swooped on the outside, she was rated 90 on the flat on her best form. Though she won on flat heavy ground, she was struggling on bottomless ground and really appreciated the improvement in underfoot conditions.
The last time she ran in Fairyhouse she never jumped a hurdle but this time she jumped brilliantly all the way. She has earned a shot at the Champion 4-Y-O Hurdle in Punchestown now.
Burn And Turn ran well in my brother’s race to be third while I was delighted with Chino Valdes’ excellent third in a beginners’ chase at Thurles on Thursday. The winner, Lord Ben is very experienced, while Toner D’Oudairies is a highly-rated hurdler. He had the likes of Mart Lane and Cadspeed well behind him so it was an encouraging fencing debut.
Penny Opera runs in the mares’ maiden hurdle at Navan today. The good ground will be a positive and while it might not be long enough for her, I am happy with her going into the race.
Overcall runs in the maiden at Limerick tomorrow. I’m just hoping the better ground will make a big difference to him, while Director’s Forum hasn’t run since November, but again will like the nice ground.
In the Curragh we’ve got Bendzoladn in the handicap. I don’t think it will rain now which is good and I’m very happy with her. She seems to be in great form, was fairly consistent last year and she will hopefully run a big race.
If it doesn’t rain I think Steps To Freedom will run a serious race in the Alleged Stakes. I’m really happy with him and we’re just going to race him wherever we get nice ground for him. He’s coming off an effortless win in Dundalk and I’m looking forward to him. If the conditions stay right, he’ll go from there to Punchestown for the Champion Hurdle.