DARASSO CONTINUES HIS UPWARD CURVE WITH WEBSTER CUP WIN
My highlight of last week was winning the Grade 2 Webster Cup on the Joseph O’Brien-trained DARASSO at Navan on Monday.
It was only his third run over fences and his first run over Irish fences in against much more experienced chasers, so it was a tough test for him, but he came through it well. He took a little bit of time to warm up into his jumping, but he was good from halfway onwards.
They went a good gallop and he was probably out of his comfort zone early on, but jumping the fourth last I was happy enough that I was close enough that I could go and get them. He had finished off really strongly for me when he won over hurdles at Gowran Park on his previous start and he produced another strong effort late on at Navan.
Trip wise, whether or not he stayed three miles at Gowran Park is a question mark, but he has been versatile enough to handle the drop to two miles the last twice. While he’ll have to step up again to go close in Grade 1 company, he’s going the right way.
Last Thursday I was riding at Ludlow and it was a winning visit thanks to the Philip Hobbs-trained MUSICAL SLAVE in the Ludlow Farm Shop Handicap Hurdle.
It has taken a while for the penny to drop with him, but he had been good when winning at Market Rasen a week earlier and followed up here as he was entitled to do under his penalty considering he was 6lb well-in on the day. There will hopefully be more improvement in him over hurdles and he seems the type that should do well over fences in due course.
Elsewhere on the card I got a good spin off the Jonjo O’Neill-trained ALLELU ALLELUIA when finishing second in the Alfa Aggregate Products Chase.
He had lost his way a little bit after winning at Worcester in October, but this was a step back in the right direction, albeit in what probably wasn’t the strongest of races. Hopefully he can build on it and get back to winning ways soon.
I was back in Ireland for the weekend and the pick of my rides at Thurles on Saturday came when I finished second in the Enjoy White Gypsy @ Finns Borrisoleigh Hurdle on the Peter Fahey-trained PEREGRINE RUN.
It was a good solid run from him, the winner just had too many guns for him. I believe he might be aimed at the Topham Chase at Aintree now and that run should put him spot on for it.
At Downpatrick on Sunday I rode LADY ISCHIA for Gavin Cromwell in the Connelly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle and she ran a good race to finish second.
She was a good mare in bumpers and seems to be getting the hang of hurdling based on this. She was a bit messy at the third-last flight, but jumped well other than that. You’d imagine she’ll take plenty of beating in a mares’ maiden hurdle in the coming weeks.