Royal Caviar (10/3) disappointed the last day at Fairyhouse, but he was very fresh and quite keen. Things didn’t really happen for him that day but he’s won a point-to-point so 2m 4f should suit him. You have to respect Windsor Park (Evens) for Dermott Weld and Wildebeest (11/1) will run a lot better today over the trip. We are hopeful about Royal Caviar who is a nice big horse, and if I can settle him he has a great chance.
We’re happy with Hurricane Fly (4/6) and the only concern is that because of the frost overnight Leopardstown have moved to the very inside track to ensure there is racing and that makes it a different race. It’s more of a speed contest now than a stamina one which would be a concern with Hurricane Fly being a 10-year-old going on 11. JP McManus has Alderwood (66/1) and Plinth (66/1) and I’m not sure which one, if either, will go a gallop and that’s another dimension to the race. It will be a tactical affair and I’ll be heading to the start with a dozen different plans in my head. On the inside track, like at Cheltenham or Punchestown, I don’t envisage being too far off the pace.
I’d be telling lies if I said the yard aren’t happy with the Fly.
Analifet (7/2) is a difficult ride because she likes to get on with it. We thought her homework was good enough going to Naas but she was disappointing, and she wears a hood today like last time. The one concern I have with her, despite how well she’s going, is whether she’ll get 2m 4f. I won on her twice but thought she was a galloping free-flowing 2 mile horse so I’d worry about the trip. It is a very competitive race. Annamatopoeia (25/1) ran a great race in Limerick behind Black Hercules, Carrigmoorna Rock (2/1) was a good winner in Newbury, and I’m riding Fairytale Theatre (7/1) for Dan Skelton who is hoping to get a bit of black type if he can. It’s a very competitive race, and you can make an argument for a lot of them, but I’d worry about the trip with Analifet.
Outlander (10/11) is the number one for me, and I’ll be surprised if he isn’t a better horse than Measureofmydreams (9/2). Martello Tower (13/8)) is a fair horse who took a heavy fall in Navan but has had plenty of time to get over it – but I’m really coming for Outlander. He does things really well at home and will be very tough to beat.
I really like Don Poli (2/1). There’s nothing flashy about him at home, he’s very workmanlike, and it’s those horses that go to the track and do it on the track that you want. I have a feeling the trip will suit Apache Stronghold (7/1) and Paul Carberry will ride him a bit differently this time and just drop him in. The Tullow Tank disappointed me recently and fences is his issue. I’d love to be riding Don Poli but Mala Beach (4/1) impressed me hugely last time out. He improved a hell of a lot from Fairyhouse, he jumped like a stag and stayed forever. He is a really good horse and a decent bet at 4/1.
Bellshill’s (7/4) run last time out was better than most thought as a few horses that were well back in that bumper at Thurles have come out and won. I rode this fella last week in work and I love him. I think at Thurles he just didn’t know how to change gears. Bellshill is probably the best bet of the day. He has nothing to jump, he goes on the ground and he only really has one challenger and that’s Vigil (4/5).