BIRCHDALE CAN BE BANG THERE IN BALLYMORE
It’s a quiet weekend for me on the racing front with just one ride at Warwick on Saturday, albeit a very good one.
The ankle injury that I aggravated last weekend is coming along well. I rode out for Gavin Cromwell this morning and while I am comfortable that it is sound enough to race ride on, I don’t want to do too much too soon on it, hence the quiet weekend.
There are plenty of big battles ahead and I don’t want to risk compromising myself for those days by rushing back up to top gear too quickly.
My ride at Warwick tomorrow is on the Nicky Henderson-trained BIRCHDALE in the Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (2.25).
I was impressed with his win over this course and distance last month and the form has been working out well with the second and third having won since. Being dropped in and covered up at a track like Warwick will have taught him plenty.
He ran down the last a bit and only did as much as he had to do. That experience should bring him on a nice bit. Nicky has been very happy with his work since.
He’s a lovely staying chasing type, but the fact that Nicky considered running him in the Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle over two miles tells you that he thinks he has gears too.
This looks a solid race and Tidal Flow looks to be his biggest danger, but I’d be hopeful that Birchdale can be bang there.
I rode him when he made a winning chasing debut at Plumpton last month and I was very happy with him. His jumping improved as the race went on and I’d say he’ll benefit from a stronger race such as this where he has a target to aim at.
Derek O’Connor is coming over to ride him, as the lads have the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in mind for him and Derek would be riding him if he goes there.
It’s a good race and it’ll be interesting to see how well he progresses.