It was tough, but we’re all still standing, and we must move on, writes Ruby Walsh.
Yesterday was a frustrating day, the real disappointment, of course, being Douvan’s defeat in the Champion Chase.
He was never travelling, and his jumping was erratic. He is due to be scanned and x-rayed this morning, and we expect something to come to light as he was very stiff and sore behind yesterday evening. It was tough, but we’re all still standing, and we must move on.
Bacardys was nearly brought down early in the Albert Bartlett, and his race was all but over from that point, but Bellshill ran well in the RSA Chase, in what was a good race.
Tin Soldier ran really well but he lacked a bit of handicap experience, and needs soft ground.
I was very happy with Next Destination, who finished fourth in the Champion Bumper, and I think he should go into people’s notebooks.
Looking ahead to this afternoon’s racing, I start of on what I hope is my banker, Yorkhill, in the JLT Chase. He is two from two over fences, and comes here in rare order.
He was a good winner of the Neptune at this meeting last year and, while he jumps left-handed, it is a left-handed track, and shouldn’t be much of an issue. Yes, he takes a bit of riding, but that’s part of my job.
I think he will win today, and hope that this time next year we’ll be talking about him as a Gold Cup horse.
I ride Isleofhopendreams in the Pertemps Hurdle.
He’s crept up the ratings, following a second-place finish in a qualifier at Leopardstown, and then went and won at Punchestown.
But the mark he runs off today is a career high, by a considerable margin, and I’m not certain going left-handed suits him as much as going right-handed.
He could run a good race, but I think it’s going to be difficult for him.
I’m really looking forward to riding Un De Sceaux in the Champion Chase.
Plenty of people have been expressing concern at the ground drying up too much for him, but I thought he handled it well in last season’s Champion Chase.
Sprinter Sacre was just too good over a trip that was too sharp for him.
He has had a great season, having won two from two, and comes here in really good form.
The step up in trip will suit, I’m happy with him, and hopefully he will go one better than last year.
Uxizandre and Empire Of Dirt will be formidable opponents, but I’m really looking forward to the race.
Willie runs three in the Stayers’ Hurdle and I’ve gone with Nichols Canyon, who, I feel, has done the most.
He has won seven Grade Ones, albeit at shorter trips, but he went to America in May, where he ran over three miles at Iroquois, and certainly wasn’t stopping.
He was a bit below his best on his last two runs, but seems to be back to himself at home over the last couple of weeks. It’s a bit of a gamble, but I’ve gone for what I think is the classiest horse I could have ridden.
Paul Townend has gone for Shaneshill, who was very good when he won the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park.
He was second to Thistlecrack at Aintree, finished runner-up at three festivals, and is also in good form coming here.
Katie rides Clondaw Warrior, who found the ground too testing when third behind Shaneshill and Snow Falcon in the Galmoy Hurdle.
He is owned by my wife, Gillian, and a few of our friends, so it would be wonderful if he ran into a place.
Willie also runs three in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, and I’ve gone with Let’s Dance, although it was not an easy choice.
Airlie Beach has done nothing wrong. She has won all seven of her outings to date — what more could she do?
Asthuria is improving, and could be slipping under the radar somewhat.
But for falling twice, she could have beaten Shattered Love, which is something Let’s Dance and Airlie Beach just about did.
Let’s Dance is a good filly, and she ran well at this meeting last year, when fourth in the Triumph Hurdle, but she’s no value.
I hope I’m on the right one, but can’t be sure.
They are three very good fillies and, for anyone who prefers to look for a bit of value, I think Asthuria could be an each-way bet.
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