We’ve decided to swerve Fairyhouse with Vautour and he’s on track for Punchestown at the end of the month instead.
But his replacement in the Grade One Ryanair Gold Cup – and a couple of my other rides on the card – aren’t too shabby.
I ride Unic De Bersey in Sunday’s opener on Sunday in the 2m maiden hurdle.
He’s coming here off a 17-month lay-off but is fit enough to have a run. He’s schooled well at home and wasn’t a bad bumper horse so if he can reproduce that sort of form he should be in the mix.
This is a tough, competitive Grade One mares’ hurdle. I had the choice and chose Triumph Hurdle fifth Petite Parisienne as she’s the highest rated (135) of Willie Mullins’ three runners.
The English-trained juveniles dominated the Triumph and look better than their Irish counterparts but Petite Parisienne was a good winner at Leopardstown before that (below) – although this looks harder.
She’s a four-year-old taking on older horses so she gets the allowances and a four-year-old Adriana Des Mottes, did manage to win it last year.
You can make a case for a lot of horses here. Her stablemates Uranna and Lyrical Theatre are decent while Harry Fry sends two over from England.
Bitofapuxzzle is a strong stayer and was a close-up third to Glens Melody at Cheltenham (Annie Power fell at the last) and Desert Queen is unbeaten. Jessica Harrington’s Rock on the Moor could be dangerous and her form that ties in with Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Douvan.
Shaneshill ran a cracker when second to stablemate Douvan in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle over two miles at Cheltenham so that’s solid form in the book. He’ll appreciate the step up in trip to 2m 4f.
Willie’s other runners McKinley has to carry a Grade One penalty while Outlander was a little disappointing in the Neptune Hurdle.
I think Shaneshill is my best ride on the card and I’m looking forward to riding him.
No Vautour and with Bryan Cooper suspended I could have ridden Valseur Lido. But Gitane Du Berlais gets a huge weight allowance as she’s just a four-year-old filly and that counts for a lot.
She made all to win at Sandown beating Paul Nicholls’ Irish Saint who’s franked the form and when winning in France. She doesn’t have to make the running but I’d imagine we’ll be on the pace again on Sunday.
She’s in great nick and won’t mind testing ground but it’s a very competitive Grade One race. There are a lot of dangers.
Apache Stronghold second to Vautour at Cheltenham and a good winner at Leopardstown before that. Valsuer Lido, third in the same race and an impressive winner of the Grade One Drinmore Chase here over course and distance last November with Apache Stonghold eight lengths behind.
It’ll be tough – but she’s decent.