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Al Boum Photo

9 b g Buck’s Boum – Al Gane

What a remarkable horse he and we are very excited about his bid to complete a Cheltenham Gold Cup hat-trick. We had hoped to get him back in the autumn at Punchestown but that meeting was cancelled and we had to wait for the Savills New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore to give him his first run back. He won by 19L that day but initially I was not overly impressed, however when you consider that he had been out in the summer grass earlier than the others it had taken me longer to get him back to fitness. When you see him in a field he is unremarkable, but he stands out when he is on his own. He is always looking over a hedge to see what is going one but when he is in among others he is just ‘Ordinary Joe’. Since then all has gone well and I am excited about his upcoming challenge to join the Gold Cup greats. If he could win it would be extraordinary, something we never dreamed of. I remember two years ago I had just about given up on the dream of winning the Gold Cup so to be on the brink of doing an Arkle is wonderful. It would be a great story for Paul as his owners [Joe and Mary Donnelly] stuck by him after the Punchestown mistake and they have got their reward. It looks a very strong race again this year with A Plus Tard and Champ looking big threats.

Allaho

7 b g No Risk At All – Idaho Falls

He has been to the Cheltenham Festival twice, finishing third each time and hopefully he can make it third time lucky. I was happy with his recent run when winning the Grade 2 Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles from his stablemates Elimay and Annamix. We rode him very positively there and he never shirked it when Paul [Townend] asked him for his effort. I always thought he would be a three mile stayer judged by the way he jumps and gallops, but his sire, No Risk At All, possibly holds him back a little from that extra stamina. I am very happy with how he is coming along and he goes for the Ryanair Chase.

Appreciate It

7 b g Jeremy – Sainte Baronne

He is an admirably consistent horse who has improved with virtually every run of his career. Last season he finished second in the Champion Bumper and this season is three from three over hurdles including two successive Grade 1 victories. What has pleased me particularly is how much speed he has shown this season as I initially thought he would be a stayer. You need both stamina and speed to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which is his target next week, and he has both. I could not be happier with him since his last run..

Asterion Forlonge

7 gr g Coastal Path – Belle Du Brizais

He made a fine start to his novice chase season winning over 2m 3½f at Punchestown in November but then fell in successive races, which was disappointing. He completed last time in the Flogas Novice Chase, finishing fourth behind Monkfish. He is in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase as well as the Marsh but it could be that we wait for Fairyhouse. Or he could do both Festivals as he is quite a hardy horse.

Bacardys

10 b g Coastal Path

He has proved to be a great servant to the yard and next week he is set to run at the Cheltenham Festival for the sixth straight season. Twelve months ago he was a fine third in the Stayers’ Hurdle and I would hope he will perform as well again, in what will be his fourth appearance in the race I just wonder if it is a shade too short for him, but there are no other options..

Bachasson

10 gr g Voix Du Nord – Belledone I

His form has been grand this season winning all three starts, each time on heavy. He has been to Cheltenham three times and has not enjoyed the best of times there so I am not sure we should send him over again. There are plenty of options this side of the Irish Sea later on.

Blackbow

8 b g Stowaway – Rinnce Moll

He won at the first time of asking over fences at Navan in November, but on his last two occasions he has had to settle for third behind stablemate Energumene. I was happier with the latter effort when he was much closer in the Grade 1 Irish Arkle Stakes, where he was disputing second at the last fence. I am still unsure which race to go for as do we go for the longer trip in the Marsh Novices’ Chase or the 2m of the Arkle. We will make a decision near the time regarding that.

Billaway

9 b g Well Chosen – Taipans Girl

He was sent off favourite for the St James’s Palace Hunters’ Chase last year when his lack of jumping experience showed but he still ran very well finish second. Since then he has had three more runs, winning the last two and looks much more like the finished article and I would be very hopeful of his chances this time around.

Blue Lord

6 b g Blue Bresil – Lorette

He joined us in the autumn and made a pleasing start, winning over 2m at Punchestown. Since then he has been second and third in two Grade 1s behind Bob Olinger and Appreciate It respectively. I thought after his first run he possibly needed further but his latest run suggested he is fine over 2m and is going the right way. I know connections have entered him for the County Hurdle but I am not sure he has the expertise to jump with those experienced handicappers in that ultra-competitive race. I am sure he has the ability but not the technique yet so I am keen to keep him in novice company and “Times New Roman”;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>he could go for the Supreme.

Brandy Love

5 b m Jet Away – Bambootcha

She won her first two starts with the minimum of fuss and was sent off favourite last month to complete her hat-trick in the Grade 2 Kew Gardens EBF Mares at Leopardstown, where she finished third behind stablemate Grangee. Although she was beaten I was happy enough with how she ran as she travelled well for most of the way. She has to take her chance in the Weatherby Champion Bumper as the way the race is likely to be run would suit her.

Brooklynn Glory

6 b m Fame And Glory – Clamit Brook

A lovely mare who won her first two bumpers, before going down to Grangee (4th) in Grade 2 company at Leopardstown last month. Even though she was beaten it was a good effort and she can go on from there.

Chacun Pour Soi

9 b g Policy Maker – Kruscyna

I have been very happy with Chacun Pour Soi in each of his three runs this season, particularly last time when impressing in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown, his second straight Grade 1 victory there this term. Twelve months ago we had to withdraw him on the day of the race, which was a real blow, so he really deserves his chance in the Champion Chase .He has been in great form since you last saw him and is doing everything right at home, so we have to keep our fingers crossed there are no hiccups this time round. He had his problems early on his career but now everything has settled down he just goes up the gallops every day and does what we ask. If he can do at Cheltenham next week what he did at Leopardstown, which is bring his ‘A’ game, then he will be hard to beat. It would be a huge win for the stable and everyone involved as it could complete our set of championship races at the Festival as it is the only one we are missing.

Colreevy

8 b m Flemensfirth – Poetics Girl

She has done nothing but impress in her three novice chases this season, which have included wins at Grade 1 and 2 level. Last time out she won very pleasingly by 12L We will wait until closer to the time before making any decisions on her travelling over but if she did go then the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase would be likely. She has really pleased me.

Concertista

7 ch m Nathaniel – Zagzig

But for an inch she could be chasing a third straight Cheltenham Festival success this season as she lost by a short head in 2019 but made no mistake 12 months ago when winning the Mares’ Novices Hurdle by 12L. It took her quite some time to come to hand last season and her only run for us during that campaign was at the Festival. This season she has had two runs, winning both at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown and is officially 12lb better than last year. We know she will have no problems with the undulations of Prestbury Park and I think she has a major shout in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle.

Cool Jet

5 b g Jet Away – Cool Trix

He was disappointing first time out at Leopardstown over Christmas where I was expecting more than he showed. However Jodie [Townend] got a real tune out of him next time out at Thurles, so he looks one to be on the upgrade and could go for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

Dandy Mag

8 br g Special Kaldoun – Naiade Mag

He won a three-mile handicap at Leopadstown which qualified him for the Pertemps Final next week. Subsequently he ran disappointing at the Dublin Festival but he seems in good order and goes next week for the Pertemps. Looking at the weather forecast we have been given I am not sure it will be wet enough for him but the English handicapper has put him 6lb higher than his Irish mark which ensures he will get a run, but for a horse of his age it will be a tough task.

Elimay

7 gr m Montmartre – Hyde

A very consistent and progressive mare, she has won three of her four chases, including last time at Naas in Listed company. That run has really helped to sharpen her up and I would expect a big run from her in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase.

Energumene

7 br g Denham Red – Olinight

We bought him out of an English point-to-point and when he arrived we thought he was going to be nice but I must admit I have been surprised how well he has done as he looks very exciting. After one hurdles outing last year (which he won), he has been chasing this term and won all three, and each time by a wide margin. His most recent run when successful in the Irish Arkle was top class. He jumped superbly and went away at the end from good opposition. Although he has run from the front I do not believe it is essential for him, as he goes at his own pace. I do not have a problem with him staying, it is a question of if he is fast enough for two miles, that is why we have been trying him over that trip in his last two runs. He goes for the Arkle next week, which looks particularly hot this year with last year’s Supreme winner Shishkin in the field, and our lad has to be a major player as we have no idea how much more there is to come from him.

Franco De Port

6 br g Coastal Path – Ruth

He is having a fine season winning his first two novice chases including the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown in December. Most recently he ran another very good race when second to Energumene in the Irish Arkle. That was over 1½f further than Cheltenham’s Arkle, but if the ground were testing next week he could be a live contender.

Gaillard Du Mesnil

5 gr g Saint Des Saints – Athena Du Mesnil

He has progressed with each race since joining us in the autumn. He was impressive winning his Grade 1 last time out in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Novice Chase when coming clear in the run in by 10L. Danny [Mullins] was very good on Stattler, he got the fractions spot on and almost stole the race, but when push came to shove Gaillard Du Mesnil knuckled down and showed what he is made of. What I like about him is that he jumps and stays so well and has all the attributes you need to be a strong contender in the Ballymore, and I would be disappointed if he were not very competitive in that race.

Ganapathi

5 b g Samum – Une Dame D’Avril

He won over 2m at Cork earlier this season and ran another good race when second in Grade 2 company at Punchestown. Last time out I stepped him up to 2m6f to enable him to have more racecourse experience and it will have done him no harm. He is a likely runner in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.”Times New Roman”;color:red;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>

Gauloise

5 ch m Samum – Sans Histoire

She won her first two runs for us before Christmas, including at Listed level, but I was a little disappointed with her latest effort when third at Fairyhouse. That said she stayed on quite well at the end to take third and maybe the tactics were not right for her. It is possible we gave away the initiative, but I think we learned a lot about her there I am sure more forceful tactics will help her bounce back in the Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

Glens Of Antrim

6 b m Flemensfirth – Cottage Theatre

I have a lot of time for this mare and although she was second last time at Naas I think that was probably a very decent effort as it was 33L back to the third horse home. I think dropping her back in trip for the Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle will be in her favour and she could go close.

Grangee

5 br m Great Pretender – Quelle Mome

Obviously the Weatherbys Champion Bumper is one of the toughest races at the Festival but this mare certainly deserves her chance. I was very happy with how she ran through the line last time when successful at Leopardstown and with the 7lb allowance she could be interesting as I feel she is on an upward curve.

Hook Up

5 b m No Risk At All – Mission Accomplie

She impressed first time out at Fairyhouse in winning a maiden hurdle and I was delighted with her most recent run when a staying on fourth to Appreciate It at Leopardstown having come from a long way back. That form looks very good and I am looking forward to trying her against her own sex in the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

James Du Berlais

5 ch g Muhtathir – King’s Daughter

He was a multiple Grade-race winner in France when trained by Robert Collet and has been acquired by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. Last time out in France he was a short head second in a Grade 1 and looks a lovely prospect. I note the English handicappers have given him a rating of 167 which would put him right in there with a shout. His owners bought him to go chasing but before then he will go for the Champion Hurdle next week. We also had the option of the Stayers’ Hurdle but I feel for a young horse it is a big ask. Obviously, we have not had him that long but he looks very nice and if they get a truly run race I would hope he would have a live chance.

Kemboy

9 b g Voix Du Nord – Vitora

Plans are still to be finalised for him as his cv around the Prestbury Park fences is not exceptional, so apart from the Gold Cup we also have the option of the Stayers’ Hurdle, or we could go straight to Aintree for the Betway Bowl which he won last time it was run in 2019.

KIlcruit

6 b g Stowaway – Not Broke Yet

A lovely young bumper horse who is two from two for us, notably last time when a 12L winner of the Goffs Future Stars at the Dublin Festival. He was impressive on that occasion, but I am not sure if that was because of how the race was run to suit or it was natural ability. I must admit I was as stunned as anyone as I thought Ramillies would improve a lot, but this fellow was super as Patrick arrived there not moving a muscle. He is one I do not train that much as he is a tall horse and very light-framed. I think Prestbury Park will suit him as it is not dissimilar to Leopardstown with it being left-handed with a stiff uphill finish. Patrick has huge confidence in him and if Kilcruit can replicate that last win he will be a major player in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

Lord Royal

6 gr g Lord Du Sad – Tinoroyale

He could be an interesting contender for the National Hunt Challenge Cup, despite being nought from three in chases. When he started he was disappointing over fences, particularly as he is such a good jumper, but I was much more encouraged by his run at Navan last time. He was given a lovely ride and learnt a lot and as a result he saw his race out the best he has to date. It was very encouraging how he stayed on from the last at Navan and whoever rides him will be given similar instructions and hold on a little longer. Over the 3m6f of this race they will go just a fraction slower which will suit him. He has developed into a beautiful jumper and I believe he will be more effective on better ground. Win, lose, or draw next week I think there is a big race to be won with him in the future.

Melon

9 ch g Medicean – Night Teeny

He is a grand campaigner who always seems to save his best for Cheltenham and hopefully it will be his turn next week in either, the Ryanair Chase or the Gold Cup. Last time out in the Irish Gold Cup we held him up and he patently did not enjoy those tactics so we will not be repeating them next week. He is best when he is positively ridden.

Min

10 b g Walk In The Park – Phemyka

Another great servant for the yard he is just short of £1million in earnings and hopefully he can add to his total next week in the Ryanair Chase, which he won 12 months ago. He was rather disappointing last time out behind Chacun Pour Soi, but horses are not machines and they do have the odd off day. It was a case of him missing one fence down the back straight when he took off too soon. Patrick felt he was not galloping like he usually does and that the pace to probably too strong over that shorter distance. Once things were obviously not going well he rightly pulled him up. That does not overly concern me as he seems to be in very good order ahead of next week. We will not be hanging about with him and he likes to get on with things, and that is when he is at his best.

Monkfish

7 ch g Stowaway – Martovic

Who knows when his improvement will stop as he has just progressed with every race. Last season he showed great battling qualities to win the Albert Bartlett in what was a gruelling race. I hope he does not remember that when he goes back next week but sometimes they do. He has really taken well to fences and is three from three with two of those successes at Grade 1 level. The latest, in the Flogas Novice Chase at the Dublin Festival was a drop back in trip and he did it superbly. He goes for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and is seen by many as one of Ireland’s bankers of the week and I would not put you off.

N’Golo

6 gr g Galileo – Dame Again

He has not been at his best lately but has several options next week including the Ballymore, Albert Bartlett and several handicaps, but if he were to make the trip across the Irish Sea I would need to see the ground dry out, which it can do by the final day.

Pont Aval

8 b m Soldier Of Fortune – Panzella

She really bounced back to form last time out at Punchestown and I was very impressed with her performance coming home 9L clear. On that evidence she is entitled to take her chance in the Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. That was only a maiden hurdle but she is progressing all the time and will get better still.

Ramillies

6 gr g Shantou – Mrs Wallensky

He won his bumper well at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and before his next run at the Dublin Festival I actually suggested to Patrick that he was the horse to ride. As it turned out he picked Kilcruit who won, but I thought Ramillies ran a very good race and he is a horse with a lot more to offer as he gains experience. There is probably a lot more improvement to come from this big strong horse. I am not sure I have even seen a rib on him yet but I expect I will before he gets to Cheltenham. He is among our Bumper team.

Saint Sam

4 b g Saint Des Saints – Ladeka

I always thought he would make up into a Triumph Hurdle contender but in three runs he has not shown enough to suggest he could win it. His last run when second in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Festival was a step up on his two previous efforts but I am not sure if he will trouble the main contenders and we will probably talk things over with his owners about whether we take up his option of the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle.

Saldier

7 b g Soldier Hollow – Salve Evita

He is a very good horse on his day and has two Grade 1 wins to his name, but you would have to say that the form he showed in his two runs this season have both been very disappointing. We are keen to run in the Champion Hurdle and we have done everything we can think of to get him there and that is the plan.

Sharjah

8 b g Doctor Dino – Saaryeh

He is a top class hurdler and I would like to think he has a good each-way chance in the Champion Hurdle, as last year he ran a cracker to finish second behind Epatante. For the past two seasons he has been successful in the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival only to follow up with lacklustre runs in the Irish Champion Hurdle. It could be that it comes just too soon after Christmas. However, last year he bounced back at Cheltenham and I hope he can do the same again as he has been in grand order at home. Better ground will improve his chances and I think the right tactics may make the difference this year between first and second.

Stattler

6 br g Stowaway – Our Honey

A Leopardstown winner over Christmas I was very happy with how he stepped up to Grade 1 company last time when running a super race narrowly pipped for second place behind Gaillard Du Mesnil in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Novice Hurdle last month. I think he is and ideal type for the Albert Bartlett as he jumps, gallops and stays.

Youmdor

4 b g Youmzain – Decize

He was a nice horse on the Flat in France and got off to a winning start for us when taking a Gowran maiden hurdle in November. Next time out at Fairyhouse he looked sure to win before taking a nasty fall at the last, which was very disappointing. In hindsight we ran him back too soon after that when he did not run to form in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile at the Dublin Festival. We know he is a better horse than that and hopefully he will show that in the Triumph Hurdle.

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