We will first look back on last Thursdays Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park. We got a run for our money with my selection Ex Patriot tipped up in last week’s blog,finishing 4th, 10 lengths behind the Willie Mullins trained Total Recall ridden by Danny Mullins. The winner wasn’t winning out of turn. His last win was in 2018, in a grade B hurdle, but with only 7 races between then and now he seems to have retained a fair bit of the ability he showed back then.
It was Cheltenham trials day on Saturday, the card was jam packed with quality horses putting their festival credentials on the line, the gold cup trial saw Santini take on Bristol De Mai. Daryl Jacob was happy to let his mount make the running, jumping very well until the 2nd last down the hill, he pecked on landing losing his rhythm, while Santini took the lead, Jacob gave his mount time to recover before having a battle with Santini up the run in. Santini ridden by Nico De Boinville won by three and half lengths, he is best priced 8-1 but generally, 13-2 for Gold Cup glory in March.
The Cleeve Hurdle is a trial for the stayers over hurdles, the current favourite for the stayer’s race in March, Paisley Park ridden by Aidan Coleman, sat mid division until making his move off the last bend, joining the gallant Summerville Boy over the last, Coleman sent Paisley Park to win his race, with his ears pricked, he was playing with his rivals on the run in and won by one and quarter lengths, He is now the shortest priced favorite at odds of 4-5 for festival glory.
Doncaster had a quality card with a Mares Hurdle grade 2, with the queen of Philip Kirby’s yard, Lady Buttons taking on a small but talented field. Sean Quinlan was having his first ride on the consistent mare, standing in for her injured regular rider Adam Niccol. Her backers had nothing to worry about through the race. well supported from 2-1 to 6-4, Quinlan held Lady Buttons up behind her rivals, but her jumping was fast and slick. Over the last Quinlan had Lady Buttons on the outside to jump alongside her rivals, he sat quietly for a few strides before setting her alight to quicken away and win by two and three quarters, I would love to see her run another big race at Cheltenham in March.
Henry De Bromhead has another nice mare in Minella Melody who won the Solerina novice hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday
Whilst on Sunday Willie Mullins landed a four timer with Stormy Ireland, Carefully Selected, The Big Getaway and Billaway.
The Dublin Racing Festival takes centre stage this weekend it is sure to get the pulses racing with lots of Cheltenham hopefuls on show, I do have a selection for the Irish Gold Cup on the Sunday, he may be 10yrs young but Sizing John still has the ability to run in top class races, he is available at 12-1 , he has had the easiest prep for the race, all be it his form figure says fell last time, I would say he would be single figures if that mishap didn’t happen. He hadn’t been asked to race at the point of exit on his hurdle race return, and whilst most of his rivals took each other on last time out over Christmas in the Saville chase, I think it could tell for them come the business end of the race, Sizing Johns Leopardstown form figures are 71221