It was a typically busy week in the yard, and as usual there was a few that pleased us and a few that disappointed us!
That's the way it goes this early in the season as you are figuring out where some horses are at and only getting to the track can properly tell you sometimes.
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The Week That Was
Cracking Smart is definitely one who disappointed us, as he just never seemed to get going at all on Sunday at Limerick under Jack. He had been going well at home and was schooling brilliantly, but he never showed any of that at the weekend.
I'd say his next run might see the addition of headgear and that will help him no end. I expected more from him, so hopefully the added help might get him to focus a bit more next time.
Champagne Classic did everything we wanted him to do when winning at Fairyhouse on Saturday. His jumping was brilliant and it's a great starting point for the season ahead. It looks like the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival is his long term plan this year, and he looks the type you'd want for it!
Larquebuse, who like Cracking Smart was in my 10 to follow for the season, was one we were also very happy with and Jamie Codd gave her a great ride to win the bumper at Punchestown on Tuesday. She'll go over hurdles next and is one to be excited about now going forward.
Eclair De Beaufeu ran well behind Notebook, and will be one for novice handicaps later in the season, he's improving all the time. I rode the 3rd in that race on Tuesday, Advantage Point for Eddie Harty, and he made a novicey mistake 4 out, and slipped 2 out, so with that experience behind him he should improve. Advantage Point ran well overall and should be winning races when he gains a bit more experience.
Champagne Classic gets off the mark over fences for @gelliott_racing & @jackkennedy15 in a dramatic contest @Fairyhouse— Racing TV (@RacingTV) October 12, 2019
🏆 Cheltenham Festival winner
🏆 Punchestown Festival scorer
👏🏻 Exciting chasing prospect
Results ⏩ https://t.co/BnGTfBq5GUpic.twitter.com/ZLGNOMARla
I spent Wednesday evening after racing at Punchestown schooling a few of Gordon's.
Samcro, Delta Work and Battleoverdoyen were amongst the few working down there. All were good and it's great to have an away day with the horses to sharpen them up. You'd notice a big difference in them after they've had a trip to the racecourse for even a schooling session, it really seems to wake them up.
I ride Delta Work in his work every day and I think he has a huge season ahead of him.
He's a light framed horse, so he doesn't take as much work as some others do and he's always a pleasure to work with. If there's a Gold Cup horse in the yard, it's definitely him.
He's always been a horse I've held in the highest regard and I told everyone at the #racehour Cheltenham preview night that he was my banker of the week - I was riding Tiger Roll so I didn't say him!
I've no doubt about it, the best horse did not win that RSA Chase in March.
Topofthegame and Santini are very good horses, don't get me wrong, but the race did not work out at all for Delta Work.
He hit 4 out and then had to take it up 3 out, he got cut short of room over the last and had to switch twice up the run in and wasn't quite able to get the front two back. There's no point complaining about it as that's racing, it happens at big festivals like Cheltenham, but I still think he would've won that race had events unfolded a bit differently.
He jumps well, stays all day and has plenty of heart. This is exactly what you need to be a top class staying animal.
I don't go along with this notion either that a horse has to only be a boat to win the Gold Cup. Of course a horse has to stay well enough to get the job done, but they also have to possess a serious element of class to power away from his rivals in such a top class affair, and I firmly believe Delta Work has all of this.
Not many boats win a Gold Cup!
He'll start off at Down Royal in 2 weeks, and everything is looking positive for a good season. I wouldn't swap Delta Work for any other horse in the division.
Editor Note: Delta Work is currently a best priced 14/1 shot with Black Type to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup
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Choosing A Trip
Choosing the right trip for horses is always a tricky conversation to have at this time of the season. Twitter is always full of people discussing a horses best trip and as the season goes on it starts to become clearer what distance each individual horse wants.
Samcro and Apple's Jade are examples of horses in the yard who will have plenty of options.
Samcro could go over any trip really, but if it was my decision I'd stick to 2 miles and 4 furlongs or so this season. I've no doubt he will stay further, but this season he might benefit from staying around this trip. Thank God it's Gordon's decision though, and not mine!
Apple's Jade is another horse I ride every day and she's another with plenty of options.
She can be frustrating really as she's so good on her day, and I don't think there is a horse in training who would have beaten her at the Dublin Racing Festival last year. The problem is that she can turn around and be lifeless, like she was at Cheltenham.
I'm not sure I go along with the talk that Apple's Jade doesn't like Cheltenham either, as she's won there in a hot mares hurdle, I just think she blows hot and cold depending on the day of the week! One day she can work the house down at home, and she can be dead in herself the next.
We'll just see how she goes in her first two runs at Navan and then the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse before making any decision on the distance she'll run over this season.
Everything from the mares division, the 2 mile division, and the 3 miles division is open to her depending on how she is going!
Injuries are unfortunately an almost unavoidable aspect of being a jockey, and Jack found this out again yesterday.
Jack's a great lad and this is obviously very disappointing for him as he'll miss riding a good few like Samcro at Down Royal, but his injury could be an awful lot worse and he'll be back riding winners in no time at all.
- Keith Donoghue’s Weekly Blog: Why Racing Weights Should Rise
- Daily Horse Racing Betting Tips
- Ante-Post Horse Racing Betting Tips
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