She is a filly I’ll never forget, that’s for sure and it’s always good when horses can retire in one piece. We had two great days together including on my first ride on her in the Grade 2 Bumper at the first ever Dublin Racing Festival in 2018. She then gave me one of my greatest days in the saddle when we won the Cheltenham Bumper the following month, which is the dream for an amateur rider.
She had her own style of doing things and when she wanted to, she could really fire and I’m just glad she chose to fire on those two days, as I’ll cherish those memories forever.
Thurles on Wednesday
This fixture has been re-arranged from Sunday, where it was sadly called off. It’s great that they’ve got the fixture on so soon.
Like so many races here in Ireland, this should go the way of Willie Mullins and Paul Townend, who are just having a superb season. Colreevy (12:15) has won both of her starts this season including a Grade 1 on St Stephen’s Day and although she’s be a short price, she’s much too good for her rivals.
The Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase looks a great opportunity for Allaho (12:45) to get his head in front too. He’s a very good horse who is still lightly raced. He’s not had the run of things in two starts this season, but this is more his cup of tea and he should get his head in front.
Gowran Park on Thursday
I thought Fangio De Vassey (13:45) ran really well on his first and only start for Henry De Bromhead at Leopardstown over Christmas. He showed up well for a long time in a race won by Stattler, who is now the favourite for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham, so it could prove to be a good piece of form. Maxine O’Sullivan takes the ride and we’ve all seen how good she is in the saddle.
The Galmoy Hurdle has had some fantastic winners of the race in previous years. Last year it was won by a Willie Mullins-trained mare Benie Des Dieux and it looks as though it could be won by a different mare from that stable this year.
Great White Shark hasn’t been seen since she bolted up in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket in October, but you get the feeling that she’s been campaigned for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, where she could be a real live outsider.
On his best form, and official ratings, stablemate Bacardys is the best horse in the race. But the fact Paul Townend has chosen to ride Great White Shark is probably more telling at this stage. She’s a good mare and clearly improving, so it’ll be interesting to how she gets on, especially over 3m.
The Thyestes Chase is always a cracker of a race and although in recent years it’s been difficult to look away from Willie Mullins horses, having won five of the last 10 renewals. I think there are two horses from different yards that’ll run well.
Spyglass Hill is still lightly raced and fairly unexposed over fences. He has always shaped like a thorough stayer and this race must have been a plan for some time from his connections. He was a good second to a smart horse last time out and this step back up in trill surely suit him.
The other horse is Dad’s Any Second Now. He’s a grand horse and his big target has always been the Aintree Grand National, but this is always good prize to win, although, it is a tough race to win! He’ll love the track, trip and ground, so we’re hopeful he’ll go well, but you do need luck in this big staying handicap chases.
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