BIRCHDALE SET FOR TRIALS DAY TEST
After a couple of quiet weeks, it’s great to have a busy weekend of rides to look forward to. Hopefully, I’ll come out the other side of it with a few winners to show for it.
My best ride of the day at Cheltenham on Saturday looks to be in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (3.00) where I ride the exciting BIRCHDALE for Nicky Henderson.
He was very good at Warwick and the race has worked out well with the second, third and fifth all winning since. I liked the style of his win and he did it like one that would progress from it.
This is a good test for him, there are some very smart prospects in opposition.
Jarveys Plate was impressive last time in beating a horse of Nicky’s that was well fancied and Brewin’Upastorm has also looked a nice horse. He is giving up experience to both of them and if he can rise to the challenge, it will put him bang up there with the likes of Champ.
It was a big surprise that he fell last time as he is usually so reliable, but it was just one of those things. This looks to be the deepest race that he has contested this season, so it’ll be a test for him.
He showed at Newbury on his penultimate start that he retains plenty of ability, so hopefully he can bounce back and show that level again which would put him in the mix.
He ran a lovely race on his first start for Joseph in a maiden hurdle at Limerick last time, but this is a big step up in class from that. The hope will be that he can take a good step forward from that run and learn plenty along the way.
I will be teaming up with the Paul Nicholls-trained BRELAN D’AS in Cyber Security Solutions Trophy Handicap Chase (1.50).
He had a few chances in handicap chases before getting his head in front in a novice chase at Haydock last time. While he might have been a shade fortunate to win on the day, both the second and third have won since, so the form might be better than it looked at the time.
Returning to two-and-a-half miles will be a help to him and hopefully he can be competitive.
He came from France with a big reputation, but he picked up an injury that held him up and he’s been a bit disappointing since he came back from that, particularly so on his latest start at Sandown.
The handicapper dropped him 6lb for that run, but he’ll need to show an awful lot more than he did there if he is to be competitive.
IMPROVER ESPOIR TO TACKLE ELDERS FOR FIRST TIME
He’s a horse I have always really liked and I’ve been impressed with him in his two starts this season. This will be a fair examination of his credentials, as it is his first start against older horses and he’s giving weight away to everything.
While he is the potential improver in the field, he’ll probably need to improve to win and this should give everyone a good idea of where he stands at the minute.
While Chris’s Dream looks to potentially be a very nice horse, there doesn’t seem to be a lot between the rest of them on paper. Jessie seems to hold Moonshine Bay in high regard and he ran well in Grade 1 novice chase company last time.
It’ll be my first time to ride him and I’m looking forward to getting a good spin off him.
In the next race I ride the Gordon Elliott-trained COOL GETAWAY in theI.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle (2.50).
He came with a big reputation after winning his point-to-point, but he was very disappointing on his first start on the track in a maiden hurdle at Limerick.
He looks quite well exposed in handicap hurdles, but he wasn’t far off them at Leopardstown last time and will hopefully run a decent race.