I’ve got a busy afternoon at Cheltenham with six rides – let’s hope there’s a winner or two amongst them.
My first ride is Message Personnel in the Triumph Hurdle Trial (12:05). He has come from France where he had two runs over hurdles. He finished his race out well at Dieppe in the summer and you’d think he’d like a nice bit of cut in the ground. He wouldn’t show you everything at home, but he always seems to be there at the end of his work and that’s where you want them to be. We’ve given him plenty of time to acclimatise and hopefully the track will bring him alive a bit.
My Drogo (12:40) has been good since his unfortunate fall at Cheltenham last time. He’s done plenty of schooling and he seems to be in top form. Hopefully with a clear round he will take all the beating as the others look to have everything to do on ratings. We’ve been very happy with his work and his schooling, but we were before his last run. It was just a novice error and hopefully he’s learnt a bit from that.
I don’t often get to ride Amoola Gold (1:15) but Bridget is going up to Doncaster. He’s in really good form, he’s absolutely thriving at the moment and he’s the best horse in the race. Ascot seems to suit him with that stiff finish so this big galloping track should also suit. He’s ran at Cheltenham a couple of times before and he’s a better horse than when he ran in the Grand Annual. Hopefully he’ll run well but it’s a really competitive race.
We had a few entries in the Racing Post Gold Cup (1:50) but we decided to run Beakstown as we thought the ground would be right for him. He ran a nice race at Aintree on his comeback and his work and schooling has been great since. It’s a very warm race, as it always is, but the handicapper has given him a bit of help. We think he’s rated fairly.
While it’s very competitive, we think he’ll run well. Lalor looks to be the one we’ve all got to beat. It was a really good run by him in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, his first start after a wind op. Sometimes they need that run to show them they can breathe. We’re very happy with Beakstown, though – there won’t be any excuses.
Ballygrifincottage makes his first start for us in the Albert Bartlett Trial (2:25). He has run in four point-to-points, winning three of them. He’s a big strapping chaser in the making, but he’s a six-year-old and we think he’s up to running well over three miles. He’s done loads of work, but obviously we don’t know how good he is. We’ll find out on Saturday, fitness won’t be an issue.
We were scratching our heads a bit after Wilde About Oscar’s (3:00) last run at Aintree, we didn’t quite know what to make of it. He travelled well and looked like giving Brewin’upastorm a real race. We’re not sure if he didn’t quite stay, so we’re coming back to a stiff two miles here. He did well last year and he’s probably caught a little between a rock and a hard place with his mark. He’s in good form and there’s some good prize money on offer, so hopefully we can pick up some of it.
Bridget heads north for a few rides with Stepney Causeway first up in the two mile handicap chase (12:20). He ran a nice race at Warwick last time behind a very good horse in Edwardstone. These are much calmer waters and he should have a nice chance. You’d expect the race to be run at a strong pace so we’ll just take our time and hopefully it will fall into his lap a little bit.
Too Friendly (2:40) was very good at Newcastle last time, he travelled really strongly. There’s lots of money on offer and this is probably the most competitive juvenile hurdle we’ve seen so far this season. It’s another step up in class and we’ll see how he fares.