I’m expecting Un de Sceaux to run at Fairyhouse on Saturday (12.05) in the 2m Beginners Chase where hopefully he can make a winning return.
He’s been working and schooling well since his Thurles tumble and this look a good opportunity to get his chasing career back on track. We’re very happy and hoping he puts in a clear round. His style of running is that he jumps and goes – that’s just him.
Fairyhouse is only an hour and a half away while Haydock is a lot further. So once there’s no risk to racing at the Meath track – you can take it he’ll run there.
I was asked if I minded being at Tramore last Saturday rather than Cheltenham.
But the bigger UK stables with the ‘Saturday’ horses have retained jockeys and owners have retained riders – so it’s not just a case of me turning up and being able to pick and choose.
If I was at the Cotswolds and a spare ride came up – fair enough. It happened when I went to Ascot with Faugheen and ended up riding two more winners on Fletchers Flyer and Al Ferof.
Professional sport is about winning. I’d two good rides at Tramore which won and I wouldn’t have traveled over to Cheltenham just to make up the numbers.
Long Walk Hurdle, Ascot, Saturday, 2,25pm
This looks a match to me between Zarkandar and Medinas.
Paul Nicholls’ Zarkanadar bounced back to form when winning a valuable Grade One over three miles at Auteuil while Medinas was impressive in when beating Cole Harden and the reigning World Hurdler More Of That at Newbury.
Reve De Sivola has actually won this for the past two seasons while Aubusson was a good winner at Haydock after a lay-off. But this is a big step up to Grade One company.
Connections look to be taking a shot in the dark with Dell’ Arca and if I had to call it I’d go with Zarkandar to shade it from Medinas.
Ascot Hurdle, Saturday, 3,30pm
Clondaw Warrior is in great form and gets in at the foot of the weights again – which should be a big help. He hadn’t run over hurdles for a while before finishing third to Garde La Victoire at Cheltenham last month (Vaniteux second) and should improve for that run.
Harry Fry’s Activial has been well supported despite not running since April. His trainer is from the Paul Nicholls’ school of motoring – he’ll now how to have him ready on the day. He’s rated 137 and the Fry stable had are in good form with Rock on Ruby winning nicely last weekend.
Sign of a Victory was visually very impressive when hacking up here in November and had everyone clambering for superlatives. He was even touted as a Champion Hurdle contender. This is tougher but Nicky Henderson (below) would have had any amount of contenders to choose from and it could be significant if Sign of a Victory takes his chance here. He’s plenty of weight but if he has the class to match – he could go close.
Harry Skelton won this with Willows’ Saviour last season and Shelford comes into the race after a couple of wins at Chepstow – although he did get a 7lb penalty for his last win.
Gordon Elliot won this with Cause of Causes in 2012 and Bayan represents his stable that is in flying form. He’s not overly big and and humping 11-5 would concern me a bit.
Baradari was third to Sign of a Victory here before finishing a long way behind (13th) Garde La Victoire and Clondaw Warrior at Cheltenham. While that probably wasn’t his true running he still has a lot of ground to make up on that pair. But Venitia Williams did win the big race last weekend with Niceonefrankie.
Clondaw Warrior has a solid each-way chance but if Sign of a Victory wins on the bridle again he will be a serious Champion Hurdle contender.
The New One
I don’t understand how some people still knock The New One (above).
It’s very simple – he’s a f****** very good horse. He was impressive again at Cheltenham last weekend. Given a confident ride by Sam Twiston-Davies he travelled well and jumped brilliantly. I thought it was a really good performance.
He’s achieved more than Faugheen despite sitting behind him in the Champion Hurdle betting and is by far England’s best hope of a Champion Hurdle winner.
If he clashes with Faugheen at Kempton over Christmas – The New One deserves and will be shown – serious respect.
Down but not out. He traveled a bit too keenly in my hands and I had to commit at the second last which may have been a bit too soon. While the stop/start pace didn’t really suit him or No More Heroes I got out-battled buy a very, very good horse. But the testing ground suited Shaneshill and I think he’ll improve on better ground.
I’ll be looking forward to the re-match and we could meet again before Cheltenham. I’d take nothing away from the winner but I haven’t lost faith in Shaneshill.
He’s shortened up at the head of the RSA betting after his latest Cheltenham win and looks a good stayer. He jumped well but the blood and thunder of the RSA in March is a different challenge to the one he faced last Friday.
I think he should be double his price – but then again for a race three months off you could say that about a lot of contenders in a lot of races.
- Manchester United Stats: The stats that prove that Van’s the man to lead a title challenge next season
- Bye bye Brendan? The Liverpool manager is officially worse than David Moyes, and is 2/1 to get the sack next
- PDC World Darts Championship: Why Phil Taylor will be crowned King at the Ally Pally and a cheeky 20/1 double with the BDO