8 ch g Beneficial – Mega D’Estruval
He has not too many miles on the clock, but despite his problems he is a smart horse, having won the Grade 1 Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown in 2014. He had his first run for three years in mid-February in a Grade 3 at Gowran where I was happy with his fourth-placed run. He is in several handicaps and we will see how he works between now and the Festival and have a good look at his handicap rating before deciding which one he goes for.
Al Boum Photo
6 b g Buck’s Boum – Al Gane
He won at Navan first time out this season, on his chasing debut, and ran a superb race when a three-quarter-length second to Monalee in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown last month. He has entries in the RSA Chase as well as the JLT. I might run Bonbon Au Miel in the RSA but this horse could go down the JLT route or we could decide to run him in the RSA as well. I will leave that decision until nearer the time and when I have spoken with connections.
7 b m Sagacity – Baturia
She has enjoyed a good season with a win and two seconds in her three chases to date, including victory at Naas over 2m. She has entries in the Arkle, OLBG Mares’, Close Brothers and JLT, so we have several options. Again we will study her chase rating and see if it is worth looking at one of the handicaps
7 b m Yeats – Feathard Lady
She ran her best race of the season last time out when second to Presenting Percy in the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle. That effort looked good enough for us to send her to Cheltenham for the Stayers’ Hurdle. That said we also have the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle as a backup if we decide against that.
8 gr g Martaline – Lili Bleue
He has been novice chasing this season and after an encouraging debut when second at Punchestown in December he won at Clonmel last month. He has an entry in the ‘Four-Miler’ (National Hunt Chase), which we are considering.
7 b g Coastal Path – Oasice
He enjoyed a superb campaign last season when winning two Grade 1s, but the plan was always to go novice chasing this term. He has had two runs, the latter when falling at Leopardstown while in contention. We haven’t run him since then and he will head to Cheltenham for the Stayers’ Hurdle where he would have a live each-way chance and also because I am keen to keep his novice status over fences for next season.
7 gr g Voix Du Nord – Belledonne
He has done well this season winning both starts at Thurles and Tramore, each in Listed contests by wide margins. HIs connections are keen to go to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup. He is a fantastic jumper of a fence, but whether he will be able to carry that weight over this longer trip is a question. It will be a big ask for the horse but he is certainly worthy of his place in the line-up.
6 b g Flemensfirth – Ifyoucouldseemenow
He won his only start impressively in a Leopardstown bumper last season and made a successful transition to hurdles this year when winning at Naas in a 2m3f maiden. He has entries in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, and at the moment the probability is he will run in the latter.
8 b g King’s Theatre – Fairy Native
A very smart horse who was third in last year’s RSA Chase behind Might Bite and he had been off since then before his return in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last month. I was very happy with that effort as he won well, having jumped well all the way around. It would be too soon after that run to go to Cheltenham so we will have a good look at the Irish Grand National with him.
Benie Des Dieux
7 b m Great Pretender – Cana
She is more than likely go for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. Everything we have asked her to do so far she has done. But to be honest I thought she would be an easier winner of her last run at Naas, but she got the job done and in fairness to the mare David [Mullins] was easy enough on her. She won’t be lacking for experience over hurdles as she ran over them in France and schools well over hurdles at home. You can’t fault her record of three wins from as many runs since coming to me.
7 b g Special Kaldoun – Somosierra
He won at Grade 2 level last season when completing a hat-trick at Fairyhouse over 2m. This season we thankfully managed to get him out last month at Leopardstown where he blew off a few cobwebs over 2m in the Coral Hurdle. He is in the Coral Cup, County Hurdle and Martin Pipe Conditional Hurdle and I would hope he would go for one of those.
Bleu Et Rouge
7 gr g Charming Groom – Lady Du Renom
We made the decision to send him back over hurdles this season and although he is yet to add to his career successes it could be argued that he has put up two of the best runs of his career. Just before Christmas he went to Ascot for the valuable handicap that used to be ‘The Ladbroke’ and finished a good fourth, before improving on that at Newbury last time in the Betfair Hurdle when finishing second to the very useful Kalashnikov who was so well in the handicapper raised him 13lbs for that win. We were eight lengths clear of the field, so it was a smart effort. He has entries in the Coral Cup and County Hurdle and will go for one or the other.
Bonbon Au Miel
7 b g Khalkevi – Friandise II
He was a good winner at Navan last time coming home clear of Turcagua, which was a decent effort. I have him in the RSA, JLT and National Hunt Chases and I think he will go for the RSA Chase. He jumps well and is progressive over fences..
7 ch g Presenting – Oligarch Society
He has done nothing wrong in three runs this season, winning each time. We have him down as a possible for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle or the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. He is an interesting horse but has relatively little experience over hurdles having only run the once. He won it well at Thurles and jumps like a natural. Unfortunately he suffered a small setback, but I think he is in real good form since and I am looking forward to running him again.
Bunk Off Early
6 ro g Zebedee – Ctesiphon
He is a nice type who has yet to get on the score sheet this season, but he has run well. He has entries in the County Hurdle and the Martin Pipe Hurdle, but I have not been happy with his recent work which will probably mean a change of plan.
7 gr g Martaline – Saxona
He won on his first outing over hurdles, at Gowran back in November before running third to Getabird in a Grade 2 to at Punchestown, and stepped up on that effort when third, not beaten far, in a Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle. I was pleased enough with his latest run at Leopardstown and he deserves to be in the team heading over to Cheltenham. I think he is better than he has shown so far on the course. He has a choice of entries and could go for a handicap off his mark.
5 b g Balko – Option D’Estruval
He joined us this season from Guillaume Macaire and quickly got off to a winning start by taking a maiden hurdle over 2m5f at Tramore on New Year’s Day. He was given a mark of 127 for that and we ran him in the valuable Coral Hurdle at Leopardstown over the Dublin Festival and he ran a fine race to be second of 28. He was raised 6lb for that effort, which was fair enough for a decent race like that. Depending on how we feel after he has worked this week he could go over to Cheltenham for one of the handicaps, of which he has four options.
5 b g Gris De Gris – Morvandelle
He is a nice horse that won his last two races over fences in France before joining us. He made it three on the bounce with a victory over Avenir D’Une Vie at Naas in a 2m novice chase earlier this year. He was since well beaten by Footpad but that was a Grade 1 and we will be looking at handicaps for him next week. I haven’t had a serious study of his mark yet for Cheltenham, but if it is okay he would go over for the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase on the opening day of the Festival.
5 b g Poliglote – Oreade Vallis
He won first time out for us in a 2m3f maiden hurdle at Downpatrick and although he hasn’t won in his three races since he has run two very good efforts when second at Fairyhouse and Thurles. He might run in the Coral Cup.
9 b g Saint Des Saints – Rainbow Crest
We have gone into the last two Gold Cups very hopeful of breaking our duck in the great race, but despite running big races he finished second and fourth respectively. He has been largely disappointing this season, but this year Gold Cup is probably the most open he has run in. There is a lot of feeling that he should go back to Cheltenham for the Ryanair Chase and that is not an impossibility, but at the moment I feel he would be best off in the Gold Cup. He certainly doesn’t look the same horse this season on the racecourse. His form is not really good enough, although it would be unfair to say it was a bad run last time out in the Irish Gold Cup when he was third. I can’t pretend he has fired like he has in the past two seasons, but he deserves his chance in one of the championships races again.
5 b g Assessor – Louve Rina
He came to us this season and we managed to get one run into him at Naas in January where he ran a decent fourth in the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle. We have him in three handicap hurdles and will decide which if any of them he will go for, but he is definitely a possibility for the Cheltenham team.
8 b g Walk In The Park – Star Face
He had gone to Cheltenham last year with 14 straight wins and it was a big blow for all of us that he would pick up an injury in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, especially as he has been in such good form. After what looked a major hiccup earlier this season he has been pleasing me and doing everything right. He has to go for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, all being well. Not so long ago we were being told we could not train him for a year. It was a huge disappointment when it looked like he would miss the whole season but within a week or 10 days he was sound when we thought he should not have been sound. We started reinvestigating and revaluating some of the findings we got, then we said ‘right, he is sound, let’s do a bit more.’ We kept upping his work and he was good and sound, and stayed sound. After a while we decided to go back and do more tests on him. There was obviously something there, but maybe something he can live with. Maybe when he runs, it will come up again. On the morning that he got the injury he did a bit of work which I thought at the time was awesome, but of course he was lame the next morning. I don’t recall the horse he was working with but he just flew away from him. It was the fastest bit of work I had ever seen him do. I said to my team I do not want to see him do a piece of work like that again – save it for the racecourse! I thought it was frightening and I said to myself if he reproduces that on the track, he will be very hard to beat. Whether he will ever get back to that, I don’t know, but I am very happy with him at the moment. He has been away a couple of times already but it is day to day with him. I just hope I can get him back to the level he was at in November. I know everyone wants to see him face Altior and it would be a great attraction. I thought Nicky’s horse was very good at Newbury and he looked in great heart as well. If we could get him there in good order it could be a good contest, but we have to get him there first, but I am still taking it one day at a time.
Duc Des Genievres
5 gr g Buck’s Boum
He has had two runs for us, the latest being a good second behind the very useful Samcro at Grade 1 last time. We have him in everything from the novices’ hurdles to the handicaps. Noel Fehily rode him on his last outing and was happy that he wants to go up in trip. I would say that he is likely to go for either the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle or alternately the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
4 b f No Risk At All – Jolie Catty
She is a very nice filly we got from France after she won at Auteuil in October over 2m2f. I haven’t run her yet and she won’t be out before Cheltenham, but if she continues to work well she could well go for the JCB Triumph Hurdle. She would be an interesting runner as she goes nicely.
6 b g Saint Des Saints – Fabalina
He was in great form just before Christmas winning 3m novice hurdles at Cork (Grade 3) and Limerick (Grade 2). He has entries in the Ballymore and Albert Bartlett and I would imagine he will take up his option in the latter.
10 b g Germany – Miss Pickering
He is one of the best hurdlers we have seen in some time and he has a real liking for Cheltenham having won the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle in 2014, and the Champion Hurdle the following year among a haul of eight Grade 1s. He seemed to be as good as ever when we got him back on the track in November at Punchestown when beating Jezki 16L in the Morgiana Hurdle, and he was in good order when he went back to Leopardstown just after Christmas, but Paul was forced to pull him up. He worked well enough before his return in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time out and I thought he ran a grand race. But he will certainly have to up his game to try and win a third race at the Festival. I suppose it is possible he might not be as good as he was, but I still think he can be competitive. I feel we have had plenty of time to get some more improvement from Leopardstown to the middle of March and we definitely haven’t gone downhill at home. He is improving all the time. It would be wonderful if he could come back to the level he was at but we have to be honest as age is not on his side. He loves Prestbury Park and hopefully that will reignite him a little bit.
6 b g Crachadoir – Willamina
He is a horse that I have always had great faith in and he proved he was a very smart hurdler winning having two Grade 1s at Leopardstown and Auteuil. This season he has had three runs in chases, winning each one, the last two being at the top level – Racing Post Novices’ Chase and Frank Ward Arkle Novices’ Chase. All is well with him ahead of his target, the Racing Post Arkle Novices Chase at Cheltenham. He has a beautiful method of jumping his fence and don’t forget he was good enough to run in the Champion Hurdle. There is no doubt about it his method of jumping has catapulted him to the top of the novice chasing tree. He could be a Gold Cup horse one day. I don’t have a problem about him staying further, although with his method of jumping in mind it is possible he could be a Champion Chase contender. It is so much easier to keep them sound and right running over two miles than running over the Gold Cup distance of three miles and a quarter.
6 b g Getaway – Fern Bird
He came from the Irish pointing field having won at Largy two years ago. He won both of his bumpers last season and has really taken well to hurdling winning both starts, each at Punchestown, this campaign. He is in good order and the plan is the opening race of the meeting, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which we have won for three of the last four years. I thought his win at Punchestown last time showed improvement from his hurdling debut. He is not a flashy horse at home, whereas a horse like say, Douvan, is always flashy at home. Even working him the other day I was not really impressed but Sonny who rides him says he feels in great order and I wouldn’t question him as he knows Getabird better than anyone. I hope he goes to Cheltenham with a strong chance.
7 b g Flemensfirth – Norabelle
He has improved with each run this season, having started off on the wrong note with a fall at Punchestown in November on his first attempt over fences. He then won nicely at Navan before stepping up to win again in the Kildare Novices’ Chase at Punchestown. It was a big effort when a length third to Monalee in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase in February at the Dublin Festival. He is in both the RSA Chase and the JLT Novices’ Chase. We are favouring the JLT at the moment.
7 gr m Martaline – Change Partner
She showed some very smart form last year, the best being a third in the EBF Mares’ Novice Hurdle Final. Her form this season has been mixed, but we have given her plenty of entries and will see what the handicapper has rated her before deciding if she goes for the Festival.
6 b g Voix Du Nord – Vitora
He has some decent form to his name including a good run last year in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago. This season he has run twice over fences, winning the most recent at Fairyhouse in pleasing style. He has several entries for Cheltenham but I would think the most likely race for him will be the JLT Novices’ Chase over 2m4f.
9 b g Old Vic – Killultagh Dawn
He is a very talented horse who has only had three runs in the past two years, but is in good order. As a youngster he won the Martin Pipe Hurdle and went on to Grade 1 success at Punchestown. He was then off for 13 months before making a winning return at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve over hurdles. It put him straight and we went to Leopardstown for the Irish Gold Cup where he led approaching the last and the way he had been jumping I would not have bet him not making it over. He had the momentum and like he was pulling away from a smart field. I always thing your first thought is your best thought. When you look at if after you see other horses coming from behind, but they weren’t in the picture when your watching it live. I thought he had a really good chance going to the last. We were worried when he fell as it looked a hard fall, but he has schooled well at home since. It looked like he was too careful at Leopardstown. Hopefully he will have learned from his error and will be alright on the day. I would have no worries about the trip, certainly not with his pedigree, after all he beat Thistlecrack in a three-mile novice hurdle. I have been very happy with him since his last run.
6 b m Footstepsinthesand – Reine De Coeur
She is a useful mare under both codes, having finishing third in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last autumn while having good form as a hurdler. She ran twice at the Galway Festival making the frame both times before winning back to back handicap hurdles in the summer. She has since been Listed and Grade 3 placed this winter and I would be keen to look at one of the hurdles next week for her. She is in the OLBG, Coral Cup, County and Martin Pipe and will almost certainly go for one of those, where we think she has the best chance.
5 b m Spanish Moon – Lamboghina
She came to us from Guillaume Macaire in France and has done precious little wrong. She has won both of her races for me, at Tramore in December and Fairyhouse in January, and on each occasion she impressed coming home well clear. She goes for the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. She is top-class and if they ever have a mares’ chase at the Cheltenham Festival she is one you would definitely aim for it. She is a lovely big, scopey filly and she will be very competitive as she has bags of ability.
6 b m Poliglote – Baraka Du Berlais
Was a brilliant mare for us last season, most notably when completing a four-timer for the yard on day three of the Festival when she won the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (G2) under a cool ride from Ruby. She won a Grade 3 Mares’ Hurdle at Leopardstown over the Christmas holiday, but she hasn’t really fired this term like she did last season. That said at home I feel she is getting there and we will look at either the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle or the Stayers’ Hurdle next week for her.
8 b g Beneficial – Another Evening
He has had three races since going novice chasing this season, which included a win at Cork over 2m4f. He has a handful of entries for Cheltenham in the novice races and handicaps.
5 gr g Makfi – Goldamix
He ran a very good race on his penultimate outing when fourth of 28 in the Coral Hurdle off a mark of 128. He is up to 130 now but may have to stay at home as I doubt he would get in any of the handicaps he is entered for off that mark.
8 b g Great Journey – Mascara
He is a very talented dual-purpose horse, having won three times on the Flat, which included a fantastic run when third to Rekindling in the Melbourne Cup. His last run was in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase, where he finished less than four lengths behind the brilliant Highland Reel. He has proved he is a very smart hurdler, with his last win being at Killarney in the summer. He has raced once at the Cheltenham Festival when fourth in the County Hurdle three years ago. He only 4lb higher now and has that same race among his options for next week. He will almost certainly go to Cheltenham and also revert to the Flat again this summer.
6 ch g Medicean – Night Teeny
Last year he went to Cheltenham on the back of one run, when a 10L winner of a Leopardstown maiden hurdle. For such an inexperienced horse he ran a huge race to be second to Labaik and he since finished the same position at Grade One level at Punchestown. This season he came out and won at Down Royal nicely before finishing third to My Tent Or Yours at Cheltenham before Christmas. I feel he didn’t like the hood, which we fitted for the first time, on the last day at Leopardstown in the Irish Champion Hurdle. We will remove that for the Champion Hurdle and again I hope Cheltenham will bring out the best of him as he clearly enjoys the place.
5 ch m Spirit One – Folle Biche
She has twice been successful over hurdles, most recently at Listed level over 2m4f at Punchestown last month. She has entries in a good few handicaps. We will see what the English handicapper makes of her and then make a decision.”
7 b g Walk In The Park – Phemyka
This season he has crossed the line first in each of his three races, although he was demoted to second in the Grade 1 Paddy’s Reward Club Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, which is the only blemish on his chasing record from five starts. Everything has gone well and I could not see him going anywhere other than the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. He is is doing all the right things at home and has really pleased me. Altior beat him in the Supreme and it will be hard to turn him over I think.
4 b g Camacho – Attlongglast
He is unbeaten in two runs for us, the most recent at Grade 1 level when successful in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown at the big meeting in February. Unfortunately he had a little bit of a cold a fortnight ago, but seems fine now. He is as fit as a flea, so the fact he missed a couple of bits of work should not be a problem. Mr Ajudicator has gone out and done it, and is an ex-Flat horse as well, which I like. He will go for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
6 b g Dubai Destination – Liss Alainn
He has done nothing wrong this season, winning all three races. I have been aiming him at the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle all sees but we might change. A lot of people thought Next Destination wasn’t impressive in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle but I thought the race itself did not work out like a championship race, given the early pace and middle pace of the race. It will be a different ball game in Cheltenham and that will suit him.”
7 b g Insatiable – Rose Gallery
He came to us at the end of the year and after giving him a run over hurdles, he impressed me when winning the valuable 20-runner Sandyford Handicap Chase by 2¾L. He was raised 10lb for that, but he looks a progressive sort, so hopefully he will still be competitive. He has entries in several handicaps and there is a good chance he will come over. It will depend on which handicap he gets in to.
7 b g Mount Nelson – Serrenia
He was a star for us last year winning the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but he hasn’t run since last April. But all of his work has been good and he will go for the Stayers’ Hurdle. The aim all season was to try and get him to Cheltenham and Punchestown. We sort of knew there would not be enough time for a prep race. It is a tough ask to try and win the Stayers’ Hurdle, perhaps more than any other, without a run.”
6 b m Great Pretender – Arnette
She has some decent form placed form but has only run once in the last nine months, and that was last month at Punchestown. Considering it was her first run for a while she ran an encouraging race, as she closed on the leaders three out before making a mistake which cost her at least one place. She seems to have come out of the race well and is a possible for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle.
8 b g Darsi – Minnie O’Grady
He had been off for a year when he made his comeback at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day and that brought him on nicely as he won next time out in a big field of novices at Thurles last month. He looks to be improving all the time. He is bred to stay but jumps good enough to win at the minimum trip. He has options at all distances.
10 b g Heron Island – Peggy Cullen
He hasn’t enjoyed much good fortune in his last two runs having been brought down and unseating his rider. He has some very smart form in the book most notably when third to Faugheen at Cheltenham in 2014. He could go any trip. I’m wondering whether to go for the National Hunt Chase or the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase. I think the four-miler might be the way we decide to go with him.
5 b g Loup Breton – Kalimina
He won for us at Thurles before finding Samcro too good the last day. He is a nice horse and worth a chance at Cheltenham and is likely to take up his engagement in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
6 ch m Robin Des Champs – Mhuire Na Gale
She won a maiden hurdle at Punchestown last month and is improving, but won’t take up either of her Cheltenham entries. The plan for her is to stay at home and go to Limerick for the Shannon Spray Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
4 b g Soldier Hollow – Salve Evita
A potentially smart youngster who made a good impression winning on his debut for us last month at Gowran, when coming home 10L clear. It is possible he didn’t beat an awful lot on that occasion but they can only beat what is in front of them, but he did the job well. He will go over for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
5 gr g Turgeon – Sans Rien
He won his only start in France and has added to that when winning the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas in January when narrowly beating Forge Meadow, who franked the form in another Grade 3 next time. He is in the Coral Cup, County and Martin Pipe Hurdles and when we have had time to study the weights he will be aimed at one of those.
4 gr g Dalakhani – Tiyi
He only came to us quite recently but we have managed to get one run into him, when successful at Naas at the end of January. He has come out of that race very well and he is likely to be in our Triumph Hurdle team.
5 b g Soldier Of Fortune – Sanada
He was off for nearly 500 days before he made a very pleasing return at Navan in December. That put him right as he subsequently won a Gowran maiden hurdle by 17L in a big field. The form of that race is working out well and there is a good chance he will go to Cheltenham for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
5 b g Doctor Dino – Saaryeh
He is a lovely young horse that would almost certainly have won the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas but for falling at the last flight. I think the ground was the reason he ran badly last time back at Leopardstown. Certainly at home when the ground is soft, he is not able to put one leg in front of the other but when it dries out, he is a different horse. He will go for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
4 b f Motivator – Like A Storm
She missed one run due to a lung infection. She produced a huge run at Fairyhouse. I don’t know what she beat but she just kept galloping. People thought she would pull up three out but she pulled out more again. It was awesome. She has a couple of entries but it will be the JCB Triumph Hurdle and we like her a lot.
9 b g Westerner – Augest Weekend
He has been good to us this season and is improving all the time. He started off winning the Munster National at Limerick back in October. He then stepped up on that with a battling win in the Ladbroke Chase at Newbury in December before we gave him a run over hurdles last month. Our aim has been the Grand National but he probably deserves a chance to go for the Gold Cup. We were going to go for the Bobbyjo Chase but it came too soon after Leopardstown. He is a relaxed horse who jumps economically and that would suit him around Cheltenham. He will be switched off and won’t be using too much energy. It looks a fairly open Gold Cup and he deserves to have a crack at it.”
Un De Sceaux
10 b g Denham Red – Hotesse De Sceaux
He has done tremendously well this season culminating with another impressive win in the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot last month, although he has only had two runs. I think he is the ultimate ‘iron horse’. He is in great condition and we have plenty to work on still for Cheltenham, which is surprising because when you see him in the mornings, he just can’t wait to get going. He is always very strong in his work in the mornings. We are aiming for the Ryanair Chase again. That is the target as far as we are concerned and I have not got any other plans unless something untoward happens to one of the other horses.
Voix Du Reve
6 br g Voix Du Nord – Pommbelle
Having been off for almost two years he returned to action over the new year break and had his next run in the handicap hurdle won by Total Recall at Leopardstown. His training has been good and he is a possible for the Coral Cup.
5 b g Jeremy – Swizzle Stick
He did us proud last summer winning twice in a week, both times at the Galway Festival. This winter he kicked off with a fortuitous win in the Grade 1 Future Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, before making the frame behind Samcro last time. We have him entered in several handicaps and will have a good look at which race will give him the best chance off his rating.
9 b g Beat Hollow – Moraine
He has been a wonderful servant and the most recent of his ten career wins was in the Grade 1 Punhestown Champion Hurdle last spring. His last two runs were Down Under culminating in the Melbourne Cup. He hasn’t run this season over hurdles, but is in good order and he will be going for the Champion Hurdle again.
8 ch g Presenting – Lightning Breeze
I suppose the Champion Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase are the options for Yorkhill. We will have to see because he is not a great workhorse at home. He is very lazy and, as you have seen at the racetrack when he idles in front, he is a bit like that at home. I have always thought that he should maybe have a crack at the Champion Hurdle. But he would be a nice one to have along with Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair. I am not going to make that decision yet. He never fired in the Dublin Chase last month. You could see him going down to the second or third fence that he wasn’t jumping like a two-mile chaser, on that day anyway. Yet you look at him at Christmas time, you would think he needs to come back to two miles because his jumping was so good. He won the JLT Novices’ Chase last year which makes you think he should go for the Ryanair Chase, but he did not jump well the other day. That is the reason I’m wondering if he should go back over hurdles. We know in a Champion Hurdle that there will be plenty of pace to bring his stamina into play. I think he would be a lot easier to ride in a Champion Hurdle than a Ryanair Chase. We will leave the decision until much later but I would say it is 60-40 in favour of the Champion Hurdle at the moment.
The bumpers look very good this year and these are the ones under consideration for the Cheltenham Bumper. Blackbow – He has really galloped his way into the picture with his performances at the track. His performances have been very good and I was very happy with the improvement he showed from his first to his second run. That has been a feature of several of our bumper horses this season in that their second runs have been much better, which of course is encouraging. Hollowgraphic – I always thought he was a fair sort and what he did at Punchestown was a huge performance and right since then I have been minding him for the Cheltenham Bumper. Squadron Commander – He won well on his debut and then we decided to put him away. Tornado Flyer – He was impressive first time and we felt it was best to put him away after that. Carefully Selected – He ran himself into the picture last week at Naas, but I am a little concerned that Cheltenham could possibly come too soon for him. Relegate, who has already won two bumpers will also be in team.