BIRCHDALE WILL SOON BE BACK ON THE TRACK
It ended up being a blank weekend for me after my only intended mount, Birchdale in the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick, was declared a non-runner.
I believe it was only a minor setback that he had, so hopefully it won’t be too long before he is back on the track. He’s an exciting horse and one I’d be very much looking forward to riding again.
In terms of my own wellbeing, the ankle that has been giving me some trouble is coming along well. I was happy to ride on it last weekend, but the unintended extra week of rest has only done it good.
Mostly, I’ve just been resting it, but I have had a bit of acupuncture on it to help reduce the inflammation. I’ll ride out in the next couple of days and will be ready to go again this weekend.
Thankfully, the little break from race riding hasn’t led to me getting too fat, yet!
NH CHASE-BOUND OK CORRAL DOESN'T LACK PACE
It was a very interesting weekend of racing and I was particularly impressed with Ok Corral at Warwick.
It’s a great track for a novice chaser to get experience at and I thought he really answered every call in terms of his jumping. Derek gave him a lovely ride and he won well.
The lads obviously have the National Hunt Chase in mind for him, but he doesn’t lack for pace. If it was such a thing that he ended up in the RSA Chase, I’d be delighted to ride him.
He has Grade 1 form in the book and wouldn’t be at all be out of place in a race like that.
WINTER ESCAPE IS NOW THRIVING
Another horse with a somewhat similar profile in that he has had his problems over the years but really seems to be thriving now is the Aidan Howard-trained Winter Escape who won a Grade 3 novice chase at Punchestown on Sunday.
He was a very smart novice hurdler a few years and we liked him a lot, but he went wrong for a while. It’s a great credit to Aidan for him to have got him back to his best.
It was a performance that suggests he can maybe take another couple of steps up the ladder and he’s getting close to taking on the best novice chasers around.
NOVICE HURDLE DIVISION WILL BECOME CLEARER AFTER DUBLIN RACING FESTIVAL
Just in general, the novice hurdle division in particular looks wide open at the minute.
The hope would be that we will learn much more at the Dublin Racing Festival, but we really could do with some rain otherwise some trainers will be reluctant to run their best horses.
With there being a slight possibility that Willie Mullins’ horses aren’t firing on all six cylinders at the minute, it just gives the whole thing a more open look than usual for this stage of the season.
The next few weeks are going to be very interesting.