SPARE RIDE SENSULANO PROVED TO BE A WILLING PARTNER AT CHELTENHAM
My day at Cheltenham on Saturday was threatening to be a bit of an anti-climax after the withdrawals of Hell’s Kitchen and Ok Corral, but I was fortunate to pick up a spare ride on the Noel Williams-trained SENSULANO in the mares’ handicap hurdle after Leighton Aspell picked up an injury.
She proved to be a willing partner and battled very well to get the job done. She is after winning both her starts this season now and is definitely going the right way.
I won the same race on another Noel Williams-trained mare in Briery Queen two years ago and she went on to run well in the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival later that season, so hopefully this mare can keep going the right way for him.
She was bred by the late Johnny Harrington, so I know Jessie got a kick out of seeing her win.
My main ride on Saturday was on the Evan Williams-trained SILVER STREAK in the International Hurdle and he ran a good race.
He just couldn’t match Brain Power for pace from the turn-in, but he stuck on very well. Brain Power did it well and it was lovely to see him come back to himself for his owner Michael Buckley.
The Champion Hurdle scene looks to lack a bit of depth to it, so I’m sure he will be able to be competitive in plenty of good races for the rest of the season.
After not running at Cheltenham on Saturday, OK CORRAL was re-routed to Plumpton on Monday and he made a winning chasing debut in a novice chase there.
It was a tight enough track for a big fella like him and we didn’t go much of a pace, but he got the job done and should learn a bit from it.
We got our wires crossed at the last with a circuit to go, but apart from that he jumped quite well. For him it was more like a schooling session than a race and his class told when he was asked to race late on.
He stays well and is a nice prospect for novice chases going forward.
Over at Navan on Sunday, SQUOUATEUR took a small step in the right direction. He had been lifeless in his previous two starts, but he did show a little bit more here.
He still has a fair way to go to get back to himself, but this was at least a little bit more encouraging.
Winding the clock back to Warwick on Thursday, BIRCHDALE started off in a maiden hurdle and was quite impressive in winning well.
It rode like a good race and he produced a good performance. He jumped professionally, but showed some greenness when he hit the front, so he should improve plenty from the experience.
It was a lovely start and we’ll learn more about him when he goes up in class. He’s trained by the right man in Nicky Henderson.