BRILLIANT BUVEUR D'AIR TOPPED MY NEWCASTLE TREBLE
Where else can I start but with BUVEUR D’AIR?
On Saturday at Newcastle he gave me the best feel he’s ever given me. No doubt. Whether it is down to the breathing operation or natural improvement as he has come of age, I don’t know, but he definitely felt like an improved horse to me.
It might be hard to believe given how impressive he was, but he actually took a blow at the second-last. He filled back up in a matter of strides, but that he took a blow as well as him being a burly fella would give you great encouragement that he can improve from the run.
Tactically, it didn’t surprise me that Samcro made the running as that seemed his only option in the circumstances. From my perspective, it was very much plain sailing all the way. It couldn’t have gone any smoother bar the uncharacteristic mistake at the last where he just got up a head of steam and raced into it.
I heard some people criticising Jack Kennedy for not going faster on the first circuit on Samcro, but with all due respect, if the early pace had been stronger I think Buveur D’Air would have won by further.
In fairness to Samcro, if Buveur D’Air hadn’t run, he would have hammered a solid field of hurdlers and he’d probably be the short-priced favourite for the Champion Hurdle! I see the handicapper put him up 3lb, so he thinks he has run a career-best effort in defeat.
Taking a broader look at the Champion Hurdle division, the one I consider the main potential danger to Buveur D’Air is Laurina.
We don’t know how good she is and the Mullins camp seem very keen on her, so it will be very interesting to see how she measures up when she steps into open company.
You’d have to be impressed with what she has done so far, but she still has to make a fair step forward to be competing at the highest level.
Prior to Saturday, I didn’t think Buveur D’Air was necessarily getting the recognition he deserved. To me, he has been head and shoulders above everything else around for quite a while, but I suppose when he wasn’t impressive in the Champion Hurdle last season it gave people reason to doubt him.
Hopefully what he did on Saturday proves to everyone just how good he is. All being well he’ll go on to do even more in the months and seasons ahead. He’s a proper horse.
What was a great day at Newcastle had started off well with STYLE DE VOLE making a winning hurdling debut in the Weatherbys General Stud Book “Introductory” Juvenile Hurdle.
He settled well enough in the hood and jumped reasonably well. The runner-up set a fair standard as he had hurdling experience and was well fancied. It took me a while to get by him, but I was always confident that I was getting there on him.
Style De Vole is a nice type that will improve plenty, but I think it’s fair to say he will need to improve plenty if you wanted to talk about him as a Triumph Hurdle horse.
A great day was rounded off by completing a treble for Nicky Henderson and J.P on CHAMPAGNE PLATINUM in the Ryder Architecture EBF “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle.
It might not have been the strongest race on paper, but I thought it rode like a nice race and I was happy with his performance. He should improve quite a bit from that and he’s one of those that we’ll learn about as the season progresses. He seemed comfortable at two miles on the day, though I’m sure he’ll get longer trips.
Before moving onto Fairyhouse, I have to give a mention to UNOWHATIMEANHARRY, who won the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on Friday.
After his comeback at Aintree you would have worried about how much of his ability he retained, but he showed on Friday that there is plenty of fire left in him.
A combination of the longer trip, softer ground, stiffer track and first-time cheekpieces all likely helped him and he ran out a good winner on the day. Harry had him in tip-top shape on the day and this performance would give you encouragement that he can win again. It’s a competitive division, but he is still in the mix.
I didn’t ride a winner at Fairyhouse on Sunday, but I really thought I was going to after jumping the last on the Joseph O’Brien-trained LE RICHEBOURG in the Baroneracing.com Drinmore Novice Chase!
We had to battle for room with Davy Russell on Delta Work coming down to the last and my fella fought his corner and jumped it better than Davy’s, but we just got worn down close home.
He ran a great race, it was just a bit disappointing to be beaten. He’s a horse I’d be looking forward to having another go on wherever he goes next.
Away from my rides at Fairyhouse, I thought Apple’s Jade was brilliant in the Hatton’s Grace.
It was a massive performance and she is a serious mare. There has been some chat about her potentially being switched to the Champion Hurdle, but whether she would have the pace for it would be a question in my mind. She has won over three miles and is ridden like a stayer over two-and-a-half miles, so it would have to be a doubt.
Regardless, to have won three Hatton’s Grace Hurdles at the age of six is some effort and if anything, she looks to be getting better.