SIR DES CHAMPS Has A Great Chance If He Can Replicate First Run Of The Season

I had a nice win with MASTER OF VERSE at Fairyhouse this week who had looked moderate in bumpers but settled well, jumped well and was suited to the ground, so he’ll be a good horse to have over the summer.

I‘m at Sandown tomorrow and will be riding VOIX DU REVE in the first who ran very well at Fairyhouse on heavy ground in a Grade 3. He was in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham and came on towards the end to fight at the finish but had a nasty fall. He’s Ok now and so I think he has a great chance. He claims top weight, but I also claim three pounds, so I think we can do well in this one.

I will be on SIR DES CHAMPS in the Sandown Gold Cup. He didn’t take too well to the Grand National fences and paid the price with a nasty fall, but miraculously he came away unscathed, but he was lucky. He’s the class horse in the race and I am hoping he comes back to the form he was in the first time he ran this season and if he does, he’ll be able to give a good account of himself.

MCKINLEY is a funny horse because he’s won a Grade 1 over hurdles, but then he unseated Bryan Cooper at Cheltenham so he’s a little unpredictable. The ground was a little soft for him at Fairyhouse, but I think he’ll come on from that run. He’s a very lazy horse but if we can get him to lie up for the first mile, he’ll have a great chance off a nice mark.

Willie has been doing a great job and has sent three winners to Perth this week, so is in great form going into tomorrow. Paul Nicholls knows the British program very well and knows where to pick the money up and both have plenty of runners, so it’s going to be down to who will have a good day and who may have a bad day. I think at the moment it’s so close that it’s really too hard to say. They’re both in great form, but it’s going to be difficult for Willie. Nicholls has had no real championship horse this season, with very few big names running in the main races at Cheltenham, so Nicholls would be a deserved winner if he does retain the British title.