Bostons Angel didn’t enjoy the cross-country race at Le Lion D’Angiers on Thursday, making a mistake at the second bank and downing tools after that. He’s had a good season and will get a deserved break. We’ll consider his options after that.
Chino Valdes decided they were going too quick for him at Downpatrick on Monday and though he finished fourth, never really looked like landing a blow.
They were rare blips in a very satisfying week. Burn And Turn won readily at Limerick last Saturday and will return there for a big mares’ chase. While she would love good ground, she has shown an ability to cope with it on the softer side. Heavy will get her though
I had made my hopes for Burn And Turn clear last week and thought that Polished Rock would go close on Sunday but he got bogged down in the ground. It was too soft for Why But Why, too, but I was delighted with that effort, finishing fifth.
At Downpatrick, Cailin Annamh ran well but got shuffled back at a vital juncture of the race and had to work a bit harder than ideal to get back into it. She did hit the front but Boss’s Star has a good flat pedigree and just pegged her back.
Beachdale Lad probably ran his race and will go chasing now. That has always been where his future lay.
Peggy’s Leg was only a length and a half off the winner in Navan despite being fourth, while I was delighted with Rupa, who showed tremendous improvement to be third. Davanti may have been 13th of 14 but that didn’t concern me too much as she had a wide draw and was bumped wider all the time.
Hurricane Ridge notched up winner number two in a 1m 5f handicap, showing plenty of toughness to burst through between Jacksonslady and Lethal Weapon to win. He’ll campaign through the summer on the flat and over hurdles.
We have 10 runners over the weekend, with Jetson heading to Haydock for another three-mile handicap hurdle. He is in great form and deserves a good pot, having been third at Cheltenham and second at Aintree.
He renews his rivalry with Battle Group, who skated home by 10 lengths at Aintree and came out two days later to do something similar over fences. We have a 15lbs pull in the weights and with Nigel de Boinville claiming 5lbs, that will be 20lbs. So, I’m expecting a very big run, particularly as the ground is good.
Penny Opera should run well in the maiden hurdle at Punchestown while Operating makes his chasing debut. He jumps very well but wouldn’t want it too soft and Felix Yonger was rated 25lbs higher over hurdles.
Rock The World ran brilliantly to be second on debut at the Punchestown festival and has improved for that. The Mullins operation denied us then and they will probably be the ones to beat now but I would be hoping this is a race we can win.
Tomorrow, Passagere will be hoping it’s not too soft, having struggled in heavy going at Leopardstown last January.
Macnicholson and Knightsone run in the bumper. I liked the latter but he ran dreadfully at Naas. I think he’s better than that and has improved. Shane Shortall takes the ride. He’s a really nice jockey and I’d be delighted with a top-five finish.
Macnicholson ran fantastically at Punchestown when fifth. He has come on well from that again, is a really nice sort but, once more, Willie looks likely to have the favourite in Tirauli. Maybe racecourse experience might swing it our way.
At Leopardstown, Newberry Hill and Bendzoldan both run in the Bulmers Live at Leopardstown Handicap. Charlie Elliott will claim 10lbs off the consistent Bendzoldan, while I am expecting a big run from Newberry Hill, who is a good horse and loves it around the track, having been second there twice. Neither would want it very soft, both should run big races.
Rae’s Creek won’t want too much rain either and has to take on the likes of Plinth, but his first run at the Curragh, when sixth, was a satisfying effort and he should improve for that. I’d be hopeful of a strong showing.
Maller Tree and Director’s Forum are two worth keeping an eye on in Killarney on Monday and on Tuesday Steps To Freedom makes his chasing debut. Because he didn’t quite stay the two miles on the flat, we’ve had a change of plan. All will be revealed in time but suffice to say right now that he jumps very well. I couldn’t be happier with him.