Closutton, Bagenalstown, Carlow, Ireland
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Acapella Bourgeois

10 ch g Network – Jasmine

A very encouraging win in the Bobbyjo Chase and that puts him in the frame for either the English or Irish Nationals. At the moment I would think his owners would be looking to Aintree, where he could be an interesting contender.


7 b g Coastal Path – La Horquela

He has hardly put a foot wrong in all three starts over hurdles, winning twice and one bumper. This gelding is clearly on an upward curve and is a possible for the Albert Bartlett, but it could be that we keep him for several options at home in Ireland.

Al Boum Photo

8 b g Buck’s Boum Al Gane

After several near misses he won us our first Cheltenham Gold Cup last year, which was a wonderful day for all concerned. Traditionally it is very difficult for a horse to win a second Gold Cup and I decided that the route we took last season was the one we would again do as he bids to retain his crown. He will be nice and fresh for the race after his confidence boosting win at Tramore on New Year’s Day. It was only a Grade 3 but he did it nicely and the plan now will be to take him away for a quite racecourse gallop and that should put him right for the big day. Looking back I thought last year’s Gold Cup was tough and I don’t think this year’s looks as strong. With normal improvement for his age you would have to think he has a fantastic chance of completing the double. Certainly his work has given us every encouragement. He would be one of my best hopes for the week.


6 b g No Risk At All – Idaho Falls

Having won over hurdles last season we were always keen to get him out over fences. He made a pleasing debut when second to stablemate Easy Game first time out at Leopardstown in a Beginners Chase and clearly put that experience to good use when romping home 21L clear at Fairyhouse over 2m5f in January. I have spoken to his owners and it is likely this fellow will go for the RSA Chase as we know stamina will not be a problem. If he didn’t go for that race and we dropped him back in trip to the Marsh Novices’ Chase then that would be because he can be quite keen in his races. The plan is to give him some more work before Cheltenham to try and get some of that keenness out of him and hope he settles better.

Appreciate It

6 b g Jeremy – Sainte Baronne

He has not done a great deal wrong since joining us. After an encouraging debut at Fairyhouse when third in a decent race he went to Leopardstown over Christmas and won nicely. We stepped him up in class for the Grade 2 Goffs Future Stars INH Race, which looked a field loaded with class beforehand, and he won easily. What I love about him is that he has such a high cruising speed, and that is a big plus when you run the Festival Bumper, which is his target next week. It is always hard to work out which is your best in this division as there is not too much form to go on but he looks to be up their among our strongest.

Asterion Forlonge

6 gr g Coastal Path – Belle Du Brizais

He won his point-to-point at Oldtown two years ago but didn’t run again until November last year when winning a bumper at Thurles. We sent him straight over hurdles after that and he impressed with a 10L win over 2m. I thought at the time that he would be one of our Albert Bartlett horses, but after his latest run, when a 9½L winner over Easywork in the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Festival, it was obvious he had the speed and class for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. His owner Mrs Donnelly also has Shiskin in the race, but he came to me a while back and said ‘Willie do what you want to do’ which was very sporting.


7 b g Monsun – Aramina

He enjoyed a good campaign last season when winning the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown but has not added to that win since largely because of the proper National Hunt ground we have been experiencing. On last year’s form his mark looks fair and if we get better ground towards the end of the week then the County Hurdle would be his race.


9 bb g Coastal Path – Oasice

He has run well this term, notably when winning the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle at Navan beating Apple’s Jade. He ran another good race when second to Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle in early December, but I made the mistake of running him back too quickly when he didn’t run to his best. He certainly comes alive at the Cheltenham Festival and I believe he has serious each-way prospects in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle next week.


9 gr g Voix Du Nord – Belledonne

I pleased enough with his return to action after 364 days off when third in a Grade 2 at Navan last month. He has come out of the race well and is a possible for the Coral Cup.


7 b g Turtle Bowl – Brouhaha

A lovely horse that deserves his place in the Cheltenham team. He won four times over hurdles including at Grade 1 and Grade 2 level. He only started chasing this season and looked okay when winning over 2m3f at Naas in December. We sent him to the Dublin Festival but he never fired that day. He seems in good order now and we have options for him in either the Arkle or the Marsh.

Benie Des Dieux

9 b m Great Pretender – Cana

She is a wonderful mare and judged on her recent win in the Galmoy Hurdle (G2) at Gowran she is as good as ever. No one will forget her fall when appearing to have the Mares’ Hurdle in the bag 12 months ago at Cheltenham, but she bounced back winning Grade 1s at Punchestown and Auteuil. I feel we have some unfinished business at the Festival to sort out and with that in mind I am leaning towards the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle again. She has only had the one run this term as she hasn’t been the soundest of mares but she is in grand form at the moment and I feel this race will suit her more. To keep her fit and well we want to be looking at further than shorter trips.

Berkshire Royal

5 b g Sir Percy – Forest Express

He was a decent horse on the Flat for Andrew Balding winning three. I had hoped to get a run into him but he got a stone bruise which put us back a bit but his recent work last week has been very encouraging so he is a possible to join Asterion Forlonge in the Supreme.


8 b g Well Chosen – Taipans Girl

I was very impressed with how he won at Naas last time out for a young horse. He beat some useful opposition the last day and I think he must go to Cheltenham with a big chance in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase on the final day of the Festival, when Patrick will be on board.


9 ch g Network – Juppelongue

He run an encouraging race in the big 2m5f handicap chaser at Leopardstown, when fourth in a big field, earlier this month and he is heading to Cheltenham. He seems to be good over a variety of trips so he will go for either the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate or the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase.

Bonbon Au Miel

9 b g Khalkevi – Friandise II

He hasn’t run since falling behind Presenting Percy two years ago but is good order and ready to run again. He has entries in the Ultima and Kim Muir but we will wait until very late before deciding which, if any, he goes for. If the ground remains the same between now and next week then he would go for one of the chases.


6 ch m Sixties Icon – Eastern Paramour

She is a very smart dual-purpose horse and almost won at Royal Ascot last summer when second to The Grand Visir in the Ascot Stakes. She has entries in the Close Brothers and the County Hurdle, with the latter her most likely engagement. She is a the most genuine mare and I would think she could be an interesting each-way contender next week.

Burning Victory

4 br f Nathaniel – M’Oubliez Pas

An interesting filly who has only had the one run for us, when beating Great Bear at Fairyhouse on her hurdling debut last month. That was most encouraging and she could go for either the JCB Triumph Hurdle or Cheltenham Daylesford Mares’ Novices Hurdle. That said although it was a nice run she will need to improve her jumping massively if she is to go close.

Burrows Saint

7 b g Saint Des Saints- La Bombonera

He improved a huge amount last season and started this season off in Grade 1 company when third to Fakir D’oudairies. However his run the last day, when winning over 2m4f at Punchestown, was much more like it and his big target is the Grand National. He is in good order and you would have to think he has a live chance at Aintree.

Cabaret Queen

8 b m King’s Theatre – La Dame Brune

She won the Munster National in eye-catching form in the autumn but failed to really build on that. She was disappointing in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury but ran a much better race at Leopardstown over Christmas before falling. She is by King’s Theatre and it could be that she will be better on spring ground.


8 b g Early March – Mirquille

He found life hard at Grade 1 level in his first two runs this season, but I was disappointed with him the other day when back down in class. He really took to the Aintree fences last season when winning the Topham Trophy and that will be his big target this spring as they definitely brought out the best in him.


8 b g Crillon – Idylle Du Marais

He is something of a dark horse to us as he hasn’t been here very long and to be honest I don’t know much about him. He did win at Cheltenham 18 months ago and was only beaten around 2L (fifth) in last year’s Coral Cup. He clearly enjoys Prestbury Park and its undulations. He holds entries in the Coral Cup, County Hurdle and the Martin Pipe and when we have had a good look at the weights I think he will take up one of those options.

Carefully Selected

8 b g Well Chosen – Knockamullen Girl

He is the most genuine horse, who has never been out of the first three in his nine starts, winning six of them. This season his form has been strong and he has improved each time and I would hope he hasn’t stopped improving yet. We have long had the National Hunt Chase in mind for him as the race looks ideal. Patrick certainly agrees as he is understandably very excited at the prospect of riding him on the opening day of the Festival. I believe he would be the first jockey to win the race three times if he succeeds on Tuesday (Willie rode two winners in the race). He is one of those rather deceptive horses as he never looks to be going too fast, but he goes quicker than he appears. I wouldn’t fault him this season with three wins on the bounce but he does sometimes put in an iffy jump so we will definitely give him another piece of schooling over fences before he heads to England. He would be a major player in the National Hunt Chase on his current form.

Cash Back

8 b g Linda’s Lad – Holding

A very interesting horse who, having won over hurdles last season, made a successful start to his chasing career at Navan in November. He followed up at Naas with a pleasing 12L win over Zero Ten before we took him to the Dublin Festival for the 2m1f Grade 1 ERSG Arkle Novice Chase. He will now head for the Arkle next week at Cheltenham. He reminds me very much of Un De Sceaux as he has that same style of racing as well as training. He he would have had more racing experience over fences, but we always hope we can find more improvement when taking them to Cheltenham. There is no doubt Cash Back will have benefited from the run the last day.

Castlebawn West

7 b g Westerner – Cooksgrove Lady

He won a beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day and ran another encouraging race when fourth to Faugheen at Grade 1 level last month at the Dublin Festival. He gallops and stays all day and I think he could go for the RSA Chase.

Chacun Pour Soi

8 b g Policy Maker – Kruscyna

He is a very classy sort but relatively lightly-raced given that he is now an 8yo. In fact his first run for us 12 months ago, when a 31L winner at Naas in a Beginners Chase, was his first run for 1089 days. He joined us from Emmanuel Clayeux in France and has quickly been making up for lost time. He has had two runs this term, firstly when second to A Plus Tard at Leopardstown in the Paddy Power Chase (G1). Many of mine needed the run at that time and although it was disappointing that he was beaten I knew we had plenty to work on. There were no mistakes last time out when 3¾L clear of Min in the Dublin Chase. He is progressing with every run and I was delighted how much he had improved. The Champion Chase looks like being the race of the meeting with Altior and Defi Du Seuil also lining up. My fellow is a very smart horse and I would hope he is up to the task.

Cilaos Emery

8 b g Califet – Queissa

He is as effective over hurdles as he is fences, although officially rated a 7lb better chaser. He has done very well over the past 14 months since he started his chasing career winning three of his four attempts. The only defeat was in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown when he fell at the first. He was perfectly okay after that but we ran him back over hurdles a fortnight later in the Grade 3 Red Mills Hurdle and he won easily. We have obviously looked at the Champion Chase for him but it has been decided that it is best to supplement him for the Champion Hurdle, where he would clearly have a better chance of making the frame. He is a very smart hurdler and I expect him to be competitive.

Ciel De Neige

5 b g Authorized – In Caso Di Neve

He has had four runs for us, and is yet to run a bad race, but we haven’t got him a win under his belt yet. We thought he had a big shout in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last month and he ran right up to expectations (2nd) and given a little more luck could have won. He was raised 3lb for that effort so is clearly still going to be competitive wherever he runs. He has options in the County Hurdle and Coral Cup.

Class Conti

8 b g Poliglote – Gazelle Lulu

This horse is improving all the time and I was very happy with his run the last day when second to Total Recall in the Thyestes Chase. That was a good effort when getting 4lb from his stablemate. I would imagine he will go for the Grand National now.


7 b m Flemensfirth – Poetics Girl

She is a talented mare who has some serious form in bumpers, notably when beating Abacadabras in the Champion INH Flat Race (The Conyngham Cup Grade 1) at Punchestown last May. This season she has been hurdling and won well at Limerick over 2m4f at Christmas. The last day she lost nothing in defeat when second to Minella Melody. I think we will go for the Mares’ Novice Hurdle with her but we also have the option of the Ballymore.


6 ch m Nathaniel – Zagzig

Her only run last season was a short head second to Eglantine Du Seuil in the Dawn Run Hurdle. This season she has run three times, with the latest the best effort when third of 27 in a strong Leopardstown handicap. She is in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle but we will also have a good look at the handicaps with her.


5 b m Saint Des Saints – Orcantara

She is a lovely mare who has only had two runs for us. She was a good winner first time up at Tramore over 2m where she handled the heavy ground very well. We then went to Fairyhouse for the Grade 3 Solerina Mares’ Novice Hurdle. I was a little disappointed she could only finish third as I think quite a bit of her and she is better than that. At the moment I am leaning towards the Mares’ Novice Hurdle for her.


6 ch m Beat Hollow – China Sky

She did well early winning back-to-back hurdles at Fairyhouse and Punchestown. I ran her in a Grade 3 at Thurles last time but the race was too good for her. She could go for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Duc Des Genievres

7 gr g Buck’s Brown – Lobelie

A wide-margin winner of the Arkle Challenge Trophy 12 months ago, he has not added to that since, but his penultimate run at Kempton was a much improved effort when second in the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase. He is likely to go for the Ryanair Chase.

Easy Game

6 b g Barastraight – Rule Of The Game

He was a good hurdler last season and I was keen to see how he would handle fences this season. The answer is very well as, having finished second to Honeysuckle on his seasonal reappearance, he made a winning chasing debut when staying on really well to beat stablemate Alloha. We upped him in class at the Dublin Festival for the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase. He ran a cracking race to finish second, pushing Faugheen all the way, before going down by half a length. He played his part in a wonderful race and he could go for the Marsh Novices’ Chase or failing that the RSA Chase. The going could have a say in which race it is as I would lean to the where he would encounter the best ground.

Eglantine Du Seuil

6 b m Saddler Maker – Rixia Du Seuil

She has won twice for us, the most recent in the National Hunt Breeders’ Tattersalls Mares Hurdle (G2) at the Cheltenham Festival 12 months ago. It was a thrilling race as she held off her stablemate Concertista by a short head. She hasn’t added to that but has put some decent efforts in, notably last time at the Dublin Festival when fourth of 22 in a very competitive handicap hurdle. She has an entry in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle but I suspect we will go down the handicap route with her.


6 b m Saint Des Saints – Rapide

She has a very progressive profile winning three of her last four races. Most recently she won at Punchestown, but the headlines were more about her stablemate Laurina who finished third. I think Elfile has done enough to justify a place in the Mares’ Hurdle, but I would her future though will be over fences next season.

Elixir D’Ainay

6 ch g Muhtathir – Perle Du Bocage

He won a bumper in France before joining us and did well to win his maiden hurdle at Naas in November. He then bumped into Envoi Allen at Naas in the Grade 1  Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle, when finishing a very encouraging second. That was top class form but he was too free behind Latest Exhibition at the Dublin Festival. I think he is likely to come back in trip from that 2m6f last time, but I will need to talk it over with JP as he will have other options at the Festival.

Et Dite

6 br m Limnos – Truffe

Has had four runs for us since coming from France and progressed with each one. She only has one entry for Cheltenham and that is the Albert Bartlett, which she is likely to go for.


12 b g Germany – Miss Pickering

The Champion Hurdle winner is a real favourite in the yard and we have had some real highs and a few lows with him in his career. But in he latter stages of his career he appears to be getting a new lease of life, thanks to going chasing. He won at Punchestown on his chasing debut in good style and then easily outpointed Samcro by 10L at Limerick in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase (G1) on St Stephen’s Day. That was impressive and as a result we went to Leopardstown for the Flogas Novice Chase (G1). It was a seriously hot race and he had to battle to maintain his unbeaten record over fences. In the end he got the verdict by half a length from stablemate Easy Game. It was the most exciting race you could hope to watch and virtually everyone in the stands was cheering him on. When he returned he received one of the most moving ovations I have ever witnessed in my career. I will never forget it. He clearly has a special place in the hearts of the racing public, as well as mine.

Ferny Hollow

5 bb g Westerner – Mirazur

An impressive point-to-point winner at Knockanard 12 months ago he ran a nice debut when second to the useful Eric Bloodaxe at Fairyhouse. Although second again on his next start under Rules it was behind an unexposed sort. For me it was frustrating seeing him beaten in those two races as he shows us a great deal more at home and thankfully last time out he won like we knew he was capable of. That was largely down to a change in tactics and he is now heading for the Bumper next week.

Five Bar Brian

6 br g Elusive Pimpernel – Vayenga

He has had the one run for us, when winning at Fairyhouse in January. It was a good effort for a debutant as having hit the front a furlong out he kept on well when pressed. I would expect a lot of improvement to come from him and he will go for the Festival Bumper.

Five O’Clock

5 b g Cokoriko – Rodika

I have been very pleased with his improvement of late, especially when beating Front View in the Grade 3 Michael Purcell Memorial at Thurles last month. He has a few entries and he will go for either the Albert Bartlett or the Martin Pipe.


5 b g Authorized – Fanurio’s Angel

He did well over the summer/autumn winning back-to-back novice hurdles at Galway. Clearly the better ground was more to his liking as he struggled since in deep winter conditions. He could go for either the Coral Cup or the Martin Pipe.


7 b g Air Chief Marshal – Fulgence

He was unfortunate not to win on one of his first three runs but put things right the last day when winning nicely at Navan on heavy ground. I was happy with that effort and he will be in the Cheltenham team, where he has several options.

Franco De Port

5 br g Coastal Path – Ruth

He won first time out for me at Gowran and stepped up on that the last day when runner-up to stablemate Stormy Ireland. His most likely target is the Coral Cup.

Great White Shark

6 gr m Le Havre – Trip To Fame

She did well in the summer winning the Connaught Hotel handicap at the Galway Festival. However this winter on ground softer than she prefers she has struggled. If she gets better ground next week she is a possibility for the Coral Cup.

Hook Up

4 b f No Risk At All – Mission Accomplie

A winner in France, she made a pleasing debut for us  late last month when third in the Grade 3 Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse. She has come out of that well and has an entry in the Cheltenham Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and JCB Triumph Hurdle.


6 b g Indian Daffodil – Janidouce

This fellow has improved with each of his four races for us. He finished second to Notebook on his debut last season but this term he has won all three hurdles. He won his first handicap by ¾ L and was raised 10lb for that, but showed he was going the right way winning off his new mark in a strong Fairyhouse handicap hurdle in early December. He is now up a further 10lb and is in all the handicaps. I haven’t discussed with his connections yet which race he goes for but I think he could have the right profile for the Albert Bartlett. He is still something of an unknown quantity.


8 b g Voix Du Nord – Vitora

He had a cracking time last season winning Grade 1s at Leopardstown, Aintree and Punchestown. The only real blip for him was when he and David parted company in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He has had two runs this season, both at Leopardstown and each occasion he found Delta Work too good. I never like it when a horse goes back to a track he has fallen at (Cheltenham last year), but he jumped beautifully at Leopardstown at the Dublin Festival, so I am not too concerned about that. I thought he stayed on nicely over the 3m of the Irish Gold Cup and with the extra 2½f at Prestbury Park he must have a serious chance of making the frame.

Killultagh Vic

11 b g Old Vic – Killultagh Dawn

He hasn’t been up to his old form this season and is unlikely to go to Cheltenham, however, if it looked like being heavy we could have a change of heart.


5 ch m Martaline – Shannongold

She had one run in France before coming here and when she made her debut at Limerick in January it was after a 658-day break. I expected her to win and she did, but I was a little disappointed by the manner of the success. Paul told me afterwards that she blew up five times, which was because she had not been easy to train. We have since changed her training routine substantially and I wouldn’t rule her out of the Mares’ Novice Hurdle.

Listen Dear

10 b m Robin Des Champs – Crescendor

A winner at Listowel in the autumn, she held a length lead in a valuable Dublin Festival handicap when falling at the tenth and was in the process of running a big race. She is fine after that fall and is likely to go for the Brown Advisory.


10 b g Beneficial – Another Evening

He is a useful horse on his day and ran some big races last season. His two runs this year have not been so good but is likely to take his chance in the Brown Advisory.

Lord Royal

5 gr g Lord Du Sud – Tinoroyale

He looked a horse full of promise on his debut when romping home by 33L at Clonmel and was on the receiving end of some nice headlines. We upped him in class last time in the Superhaul Mercedez-Benz Novice Hurdle (G3) where he finished second. I was a little bit disappointed with that effort but I still have belief in him and he could yet end up going for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle. We still have time before Cheltenham and if everything were to go right then he could well make the team across the Irish Sea.


8 ch g Medicean – Night Teeny

A lovely horse to train he could have a big shout next week. He won his beginners chase at Leopardstown nicely over Christmas before being well held over 2m1f by Notebook at the Dublin Festival. I am looking at the Marsh Novices’ Chase for him as I felt last time out that he showed us he needs a trip, and while there was nothing wrong with his jumping, I don’t think it is probably sharp enough for the Arkle over 2m. So the extra trip will be run that little bit slower and give him more time at his fences. If he gets a clear round in he could take a lot of beating.


9 b g Walk In The Park – Phemyka

A classy chaser that won well when taking the John Durkan Memorial at Punchestown in December. His last run was also very good when following home his stablemate Chacun Pour Soi in the Grade 1 Dublin Chase. Rich will probably want to keep the pair apart and send Min for the Ryanair Chase. Last year we changed tactics with him at Cheltenham and it didn’t work out but we know where we are with him now. I think the trip (2m5f) will be okay for him as well.

Mister Blue Sky

6 gr g Royal Applause – Mujdeya

A Grade 2 winner last season, he hasn’t shown that level of form this season so far. But he could run next week in either the Martin Pipe or the Coral Cup.


6 ch g Stowaway – Martovic

He is a horse with a future and to quote the old adage ‘anything he does this season is a real bonus’. He won his last two hurdles race each over 2m7f and is clearly going in the right direction. He will go for the Albert Bartlett and I would expect him to be one of the key players.

My Sister Sarah

6 ch m Martaline – Reste Ren Or

She ran Elfile to a half-a-length at Thurles earlier this season which was a good run. She has entries in the handicaps and is a possible for the Coral Cup or Martin Pipe.


9 b g Mount Nelson – Serrenia

The big target for him all season has been the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle. I was very happy with his run in the  Boyne Hurdle (second) at Navan last month and what was most encouraging was that he usually comes out of his races a little bit stiff, but on this occasion he was fine. He would have needed that run and that should put him spot on for next week.  Although he missed last season he is bidding to make it three Cheltenham Festival wins, having won the Albert Bartlett (17) and Stayers’ Hurdle (18). I would be looking for another big show from him.

Real Steel

7 b g Loup Breton – Kalimiina

He is enjoying another good season with two wins this winter, at Down Royal and Thurles, each in Grade 2 races. He was disappointing when Paul pulled him up at Gowran last time, which is so unlike him as he is generally so reliable. He is a possible for the Ryanair Chase, but no decision has been made yet.

Robin Des Foret

10 br g Robin Des Pres – Omyn Supreme

He is a nine-time winner, but despite a couple of good runs this season he hasn’t added to that. He is in good order and the plan is the Brown Advisory.

Royal Rendezvous

8 b g King’s Treasure – Novacella

A nice hurdler, he started his chasing career off in an encouraging manner winning over 2m2f at Thurles. His last two runs, both in Grade 1 company, have seen him  chasing home Notebook, albeit at a distance. He seems in good order and could go for the Marsh Novices’ Chase

Saint Roi

5 b g Coastal Path – Sainte Vigne

He has had two runs for us since coming from France and you would have to be impressed with his win the last day at Tramore. He has several handicap entries and will take up one of them, but we need to have a good look at the weights before deciding.


7 b m Kingsalsa – Kendoretta

She has had a good season novice chasing winning each of her three runs. We made entries for her at Cheltenham but I feel there is a nice programme at home for her and she is unlikely to go over for the Festival.


6 gr g Dalakhani – Tiyi

He was a winner at Galway earlier in the season and ran well behind Burrows Saints at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. He is a likely runner in the Coral Cup.


7 b g Doctor Dino – Saaryeh

He is a very smart Grade 1 winning hurdler on his day, notably when beating Faugheen in the Morgiana 18 months ago. He has since won twice more at that level including the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle from Petit Mouchoir over Christmas. He ran too badly to be true last time behind Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Stakes. He seems to be fine at home so he will be going for the Champion Hurdle where I expect him to be a strong presence.

Stormy Ireland

6 b m Motivator – Like A Storm

She has returned to her best this season, winning a Listed hurdle at Punchestown first time out and a Grade 3 at Leopardstown from progressive stablemate Elfile. Her latest run, the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle, saw her complete the hat-trick, again with little fuss. She has done all we have asked this season and will head for the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle as her form this term fully entitles her to take her place.


7 b g Dansili – Lunar Phase

A very smart dual-purpose horse, he won the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last October and will go back on the Flat again later this year. He has several entries at Cheltenham with the Coral Cup his likely target.

The Big Getaway

6 b g Getaway – Saddlers Dawn

He was a decent bumper horse and started off this season winning at Punchestown. It will be when he goes chasing that I expect him to really make a name for himself, but he is proving useful over hurdles. He was beaten first time out but learnt plenty from that experience and cantered home 17L clear last time out at. I am looking at the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for him as he is coming along nicely and I think it is the right race. I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race here and he should be involved at the business end of the contest.

Tiger Tap Tap

5 ch g Jukebox Jury – Tomato Finish

He was in good form earlier this season when successful at Clonmel and Naas. He was well held in a Grade 2 the last day. He will be back in handicap company next week, most likely in the County Hurdle.

Total Recall

11 b g Westerner – August Weekend

He had a great time of it two seasons ago when he won the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury, but it was as if he took a year out last season. Thankfully it feels like the old boy is back again and I was delighted with his win in the Thyestes the last day. I think last season the good ground was not to his liking but what we would call proper National Hunt ground has been prevalent this season and he appears much happier. He goes for the Grand National now and I think he is the ideal type for that race as he jumps and stays all day. We have a nice weight for all of our Grand National hopefuls which is nice not having to worry about any of them getting in the race. It makes it much easier for me to train them.

Tornado Flyer

7 b g Flemensfirth – Mucho Macabi

Got off to a cracking start this season winning a Beginners’ Chase at Naas and followed up in the Grade 3 Klairon Davis Novice Stakes. However when I stepped him up to 2m5f last time, he ran his best race with staying on third only 6½L behind Faugheen. The Marsh Novices’ Chase looks the ideal race for him.

Vis Ta Loi

6 ch g Smadoun – Dicte Ta Loi

He won at Clonmel earlier this season and has run well in defeat since. He likes a trip and is a possible for the Albert Bartlett. He is a lovely chasing prospect for later.

Voix Du Reve

8 br g Voix Du Nord – Pommbelle

He was disappointing in the Bobbyjo Chase last time out and if he went for anything next week it would be the Ryanair, but we will see how he is nearer the time. We have been trying to qualify him for the National but he doesn’t stay. It is possible we could keep him at home for the Irish racing.

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