PEREGRINE THE ONE TO BEAT IF REPRODUCING FENCES FORM
I’m riding in Ireland this weekend and will get to see plenty of the country, as I’m at Thurles on Saturday and up at Downpatrick on Sunday!
My first ride of the day at Thurles is in the Enjoy White Gypsy @ Finns Borrisoleigh Hurdle (2.55) on the Peter Fahey-trained PEREGRINE RUN.
It’s his first run back after a winter break and Peter looks to have found a good spot for him here back over hurdles. If he can bring anything like the level of his form over fences back to hurdles here, he’ll have a great chance.
I have big boots to fill here, as this fella was Roger Loughran’s ride and this is his first time to run since Roger retired. I’m sure he’ll be watching closely!
My other ride on the card is also for Peter Fahey on MIZZ MONROE in the Horse & Jockey Handicap Hurdle (3.30).
I rode her on her latest start and she was a bit disappointing there, but she drops into a moderate handicap now. She had shown some promise on her penultimate start, so hopefully this drop in class will be a help to her and she can run well.
At Downpatrick on Sunday I ride LADY ISCHIA for Gavin Cromwell in the Connelly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle (2.15).
She was a good mare in bumpers a couple of years ago but has been a bit disappointing in her two runs over hurdles so far.
Gavin thinks she has a good chance and if she can come back to her best, she’ll definitely have a big chance.
Tomorrow will see NOEL FEHILY retire from the saddle at Newbury. He’s been a brilliant rider, a real natural talent on a horse and he’s a lovely fella too. He thoroughly deserved all the success he has had, especially in the last decade.
He could be characterised as a late bloomer, but more so than that, I just don’t think he got the opportunities his talent deserved until later in his career. When they finally arrived, he most certainly made the most of them. It is great for him to finish up at his local track so soon after riding a winner at the Cheltenham Festival.
I saw him win on one at Huntingdon on Tuesday and he gave it an absolute stormer of a ride, so while he is finishing up, no one could ever question that his hunger diminished.
We’ll miss him in the weighing room.
Finally, it was great to see DECLAN LAVERY win his appeal yesterday. Thankfully, with the benefit of more time and being away from the raceday pressure, the appeal panel saw the ride for what I think it was, good horsemanship.
The regulator has to appreciate that riders are in a difficult position. The horse will always come first, that is a given, but we are also bound by the rules and have a duty to the horse’s connections and the betting public to achieve the best possible position.
We always try to do our best by everyone with the horse being at the forefront of our considerations. That is what made the decision made by the stewards at Cheltenham so tough to take, as it unfairly painted the riders in a very poor light.
I’d hope that those decisions made by the stewards at Cheltenham prove to be a blip, as it will put us all in a very difficult position if those sorts of decisions become more common.