SILVER STREAK A STRONG SPARE RIDE IN THE INTERNATIONAL
Cheltenham is my destination on Saturday and it’s always a pleasure to ride there. Regardless of what time of the season it is, the crowd is always brilliant and there is always a great buzz.
I finished second to him in the Welsh Champion Hurdle on Le Prezien and he was very good there. I thought he ran very well in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham last time, as they went steady enough and that probably wouldn’t have suited him.
He’s a horse that is going the right way and with Laurina not running, it definitely looks a more open race now. He’ll need to step forward again to win this, but he has been improving with every start of late and it is possible he could do it.
He finished second in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last March and that sort of form would have you hoping that he could make up into a smart staying novice chaser.
He’s a horse that has tested Nicky in that he hasn’t stood up to much racing over the years, but it’s clear that there is plenty of ability there. I haven’t schooled him over fences myself, but I believe they’ve been very happy with him at home.
This looks a nice starting point for him, so hopefully all will go smoothly and he’ll show plenty of promise to build on for the rest of the season.
The form he showed when winning at Kempton on Boxing Day last year would have given you great encouragement that he could kick on and progress, but it hasn’t happened in his two starts since.
He settled better than he often does on his seasonal reappearance at Aintree last time, but he ended up being disappointing on the day. He needs to improve a lot on that to get involved in a race like this.
Dropping back to two miles might be a help to him, but he just needs to show more spark before the trip becomes really relevant.
MY TRIO AT NAVAN ON SUNDAY
I don’t know much about him, but looking at his form, I’d say stepping back up in trip will suit him after a good run over two miles at Gowran Park last time.
He has a fair bit to find on the book to get involved, but hopefully he can improve and get in the mix.
He is a frustration of a horse, as we know the ability is there, but getting it out of him is the problem. His jumping is what has tended to hold him back over fences, but he has had bigger problems than that in his last two starts as he has run lifelessly both times.
He switches back to hurdles here and wears first-time cheekpieces. The main hope is that he will just show more sparkle. It would be hard to have confidence in him after his last two runs, but hopefully he’ll show a bit more.
JP bought him after he won a bumper at Ballinrobe in September and he ran very well on his hurdling debut at Tipperary, but he didn’t build on that at Down Royal last time for whatever reason.
If he can bounce back from that and build on his Tipperary form, he’d have a great chance, so hopefully he can do that.