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RED MILLS TRIAL HURDLE HERO SHOULD CONTINUE TO PAY HIS WAY
It was a great weekend of racing on both sides of the Irish Sea and it was great to get on the score sheet in a Graded race thanks to the Joseph O’Brien-trained DARASSO in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park.
I thought it was a good performance from him. He enjoyed the softer ground and just galloped all the way through the line. I had to get after him going out on the final circuit and you’d think going back up to a longer trip would help him.
It has to be said that it wasn’t a strong Grade 3 hurdle. I thought Coeur Sublime looked a big danger to me jumping the third-last flight, but he cut out very quick and I’ve heard since that he scoped badly afterwards.
Whatever about how the race works out, Joseph did well to find such a good opportunity for him to win at that level. Things will be harder for him next time, but he should pay his way.
I was very happy with the Tony Martin-trained ANIBALE FLY in the Red Mills Chase. I thought turning in that I might make a race of it with the winner, but he just quickened away from me and I couldn’t get back at him.
He galloped to the line and it was great to see a performance like that from him after he disappointed on his return at Cork. He’ll have the option of one or both of the Gold Cup or the Grand National now and we’ll see which way the lads decide to point him.
My other ride of note on the card was in the Talbot Carlow Careys Cottage Novice Handicap Chase on the Robert Tyner-trained FAIRLY LEGAL and he ran well to a point.
He travelled well, but didn’t find as much as I thought he would from the second-last fence. Hopefully he can put it all together over fences and there might be a bit more to come from him.
Over at Ascot, Cyrname put up a huge performance to win the Ascot Chase. Paul Nicholls is a great man to produce a horse to peak over fences and this fella has really come to life in his last couple of starts.
I see the handicapper has put him up to a 3lb higher mark than Altior after that. While I wouldn’t knock what Cyrname did at Ascot, I’d still be inclined to ride Altior if I had to choose between them in a match!
Paul had another big result on the card with Clan Des Obeaux winning the Denman Chase. He did what the ratings suggested he should do and it was good to see him back up his performance in the King George.
He has to be considered a big player for the Gold Cup. The extreme test of stamina will be an unknown for him until he tries it and plenty have come unstuck by it like Florida Pearl and One Man. That said, he probably has the best credentials of all for the race based on recent form.
The Betfair Hurdle was another informative race and I was impressed with the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Al Dancer with a view towards the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
There’s no substitute for experience in that race and he has got plenty of that now. You’d be excited about him for further down the line too, as he’s a real stamp of a chaser.