I have to start this week’s RacingFX blog by paying tribute to VAUTOUR who we sadly lost last weekend. He was an amazing horse to watch, but demoralising to be behind in a race, as I found out when I rode VALSEUR LIDO, coming second behind him in the Ryan Air at Cheltenham - I couldn’t believe the way he went to the line. He was an excellent horse and will be greatly missed by everyone.
I picked up some nice wins last week. SUB LIEUTENANT was very good and jumped great, staying the two-and-a-half miles really well. He’s a very exciting horse who could step up to try three miles, but I think two-and-a-half is ideal for him. BLOOD CRAZED TIGER is a very nice horse, who got a listed three mile race under his belt, but he could also be better going over two-and-a-half miles. He’s a gorgeous horse and is a chaser in the making. Another of my winners last weekend was BILKO and it was good to put things right after Punchestown, where the race turned into a sprint over the last two hurdles. He will be a nice horse once he matures. ALPHA DES OBEAUX was very good, jumped very well and didn’t have company on the way round. He’s improved from run to run this season and judging by the way he went to the line, there’s no reason why he can’t improve next time out.
Looking ahead at this weekend, I ride SWAMP FOX tomorrow at Naas who was very good the last time I rode him, winning convincingly and beating some good horses, including RASHAAN, who’s beaten APPLES JADE in the past, so hopefully he can step up in grade and do well. GENERAL PRINCIPLE is my other ride at Naas. I won with him before in a bumper, as a 7ib claimer and jumping fences is certainly in his game, but this is a very hot race, so I’ll be hoping for a good display and then we’ll see what happens.
I’m at Cheltenham on Sunday where I ride SOME PLAN in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Novices’ Chase. He’s a horse that jumps well and on his last time out at Punchestown, schooled round in front and won easily. Sunday will be a big step up but hopefully he’ll put in another strong performance.
The Fortria Chase at Navan on Sunday looks like it is going to be a very exciting race, with BALLYCASEY, CAUSE OF CAUSES and THE GAME CHANGER all running, so it’s a competitive race with an awful lot of class. Over two miles though, I would say that GILGAMBOA is the one to beat.