Break-ups are a messy business with more tears, tantrums and recriminations than the average episode of X-Factor. Luckily, there was no acting the diva for top-jock Ruby Walsh when he quit his job as Paul Nicholls’ retained rider last season.
Ruby returns to the UK for just one ride at Cheltenham (3.50) and marks your card below.
Jamie Codd is worth a few lbs to you in a race like this and rides Victrix Gale. She’ll be suited by the better ground and the other big plus is that she’s carrying under 11st.
She’s not very big so a lighter weight will be a big help. I rode her in her last two starts where the going was very loose in Galway and very tacky at Listowel. Tony (Martin’s) very happy with her and she should be there or thereabouts.
Iit looks a match between Oscar Whisky and Taquin Du Seuil. I’d have reservations about Oscar Whisky who’s eight years old and you’d imagine that if he was a natural over fences – he’d have switched from hurdling earlier. We saw what happened to Grandouet last weekend so you just never know when high-class hurdlers have their first run over the larger obstacles.
If you pinned me to wall to pick one – I’d go for Johnjo’s Taquin De Seuil.
Uncle Junior won this race last year and worked well at the Curragh 12 days ago. But he’s not getting any younger. Enda Bolger’s Quiscover Fontaine is no slouch and was previously trained by Willie Mullins. He’s carrying bottom weight and could be the fly in the ointment here for the rest of them.
My only ride of the day here is Quick Jack. Tony Martin’s happy with him but a bit worried that the race may come too quick for him after his two runs on the Flat. He was second in the November handicap at Leopardstown after winning at Navan. Before that he won a handicap hurdle at Listowel in September. If he can bring his level of Flat form to hurdles he looks to be well handicapped and has to have a really good shout.
- [video] How Ruby Walsh won £465,000 on 25/1 Blackstairmountain
- [Infographic] Ruby Walsh: Horse racing’s amazing Iron Man