LONGER TRIP CAN HOPEFULLY SEE ANIBALE FLY
This Saturday is a really busy one for racing on both sides of the Irish Sea and I am heading to Gowran Park for a book of four rides.
I ride the Tony Martin-trained ANIBALE FLY in the featured Grade 2 Red Mills Chase (14:30). The race has cut up quite a bit with Presenting Percy and others not being declared, but it is still a high-class four-runner field.
Everyone has been very patient with him in waiting for an ease in the ground and he will finally get it here. I was hoping he would run a bit better than he did in the Hilly Way at Cork, but this longer trip should help him. It might still be a bit short of his best, but he has plenty of form in the book over this sort of distance and it should be fine for him.
Killultagh Vic is the one I would be most fearful of over this trip. He’s a high-class horse on his day and will be tough to beat. Monalee is another that looks dangerous back over this shorter distance.
The timing of this race works well for the Cheltenham Festival, so hopefully Anibale Fly can be good and competitive.
The other graded race on the card is the Grade 3 Red Mills Trial Hurdle (13:50) and I ride DARASSO for Joseph O’Brien. He made a very good start for Joseph at Punchestown in December but was a little bit disappointing when stepped up to three miles for the first time in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park last time.
This is a big drop in trip, but he had plenty of form over similar distances when trained in France, so I’d be hopeful he can prove effective over it and bounce back to top form. Even though we are receiving a lot of weight off Farclas, I would still see him as the one to beat.
In the Racing TV Handicap Hurdle (15:05) I ride the Brian McMahon-trained SESKINANE. Brian used to work for Nicky Henderson, so I know him well from those days. Seskinane is a veteran at this stage, but Brian thinks he has a chance and I’m delighted to ride for him.
My other ride on the card comes in the Talbot Carlow Careys Cottage Novice Handicap Chase (16:15) on the Robert Tyner-trained FAIRLY LEGAL. It would be hard to fancy him on his recent form over fences and he’d need to bounce right back to the level of form he was showing a few years ago over hurdles to give himself a chance.
There is great racing over in England on Saturday too and we should learn plenty from it. Over at Ascot, Waiting Patiently makes his return in the Ascot Chase (15:55) and he is a horse that excites me. We haven’t seen much of him this season, so it’ll be great to see him out to give us another look at him before Cheltenham.
The Denman Chase (14:45) will give Clan Des Obeaux a chance to consolidate his Gold Cup claims. He was good in the King George and showed more pace there than I thought he had, but a good few were disappointing in behind him that day and this is his chance to show it was no fluke.
In the Betfair Hurdle (15:20), I know Didtheyleaveuoutto well, but I’d only be hopeful for him. I was disappointed with him at Kempton last time and he’ll need to be much better than that to win a race like this.
Up at Haydock, Yanworth makes him comeback from almost a year off in the Rendlesham Hurdle (13:55). He looks well in at the weights, so I’d be hoping he can put up a good show that might set him up for another tilt at the Cheltenham Festival.
Earlier on the card, Laskadine runs in the Listed mares’ hurdle (13:25). It isn’t really an ideal target for her given the longer trip and that she must take on older mares, but pre-Cheltenham options are getting thin on the ground.
She’ll take her chance and we’ll all have a better idea of where she stands after it. She needs to show more than she did when winning at Warwick if she is to put herself in the picture for something like the Triumph Hurdle or the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.