Another cold Monday morning to face into after a busy weekend of racing. It's mad how when the season gets going properly it all seems to fly by in a blur.
Every week is another step towards the festivals and we learned plenty about a few once again.
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Tiger Roll's Injury
Thankfully, there's not much to worry about with Tiger Roll overall, he'll be fine.
He will have a small chip taken out of a joint on Friday, and while you obviously never want a horse getting injured at all, the timing is absolutely ideal really for it to happen like it unfortunately did.
Tiger Roll will miss work for about 3 weeks and will be back then again after it. Down at Gordon's you don't get much time off, so it'll be like a holiday for him!
The funny thing is that he was actually working better at this time of the year than he ever had before - he was kicking and bucking, and was in great terms with himself. As I've previously said, he never usually works that well this side of Christmas.
Tiger should be back in the same spirits after this short layoff and all roads will lead to Navan and then Cheltenham.
Once he comes back, he'll still have the best part of 2 months to get ready for the Boyne Hurdle, and that's more than enough for him.
I'm relieved really this setback is as light as it is, as my whole season revolves around him. As I've said now nearly a thousand times, he's the horse of a lifetime and I'm thrilled to be associated with his story.
🏆 Tiger Roll wins the Cross Country 🏆#CheltenhamFestival wins: FOUR— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 13, 2019
(Joins select group including Arkle)
🏇 Reigning Grand National champion
💷 Prize-money won: £867,282#TheFestivalpic.twitter.com/6TuZB70hgJ
Cross Country Far From A Gimme
This years Cheltenham Festival Cross Country Chase is shaping up like the toughest renewal yet for us!
Yanworth really impressed me on Sunday and will learn plenty from that. He achieved a high level of form over regulation hurdle and fences, and Enda Bolger did a great job to sweeten him up like that. On ratings he's the biggest challenge to Tiger yet really.
You could also only be impressed with the French horse Diesel D'Allier who saw off our old rival Urgent De Gregaine at Cheltenham. He's only 6 years old so there can be loads of improvement left in him going into March.
As impressive as Yanworth & Diesel D'Allier were, and they were very good, if he is ready to go in March, nothing would really worry me - Tiger Roll is born to win that race!
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People seem to be very negative about this run, but I thought Battleoverdoyen put in a fine performance on the day. You can only be delighted to get the win and move on.
The form isn't as bad as people think either, the second is a 150 rated Cheltenham Festival winner, so it's not like he beat bad horses and showed more than enough to work on going forward.
Between the last two fences you were thinking he was in trouble, but he really jumped the last well and hit the line very strongly. It was the finish that grabbed my attention, he seemed to have plenty left in the tank, which is mostly what you want in a 3 mile chaser. Those few omitted fences wouldn't have helped his cause either.
Good RSA horses don't tend to have too much of a turn of foot really.
Of course I wouldn't have minded being on him to get a proper feel of where he was at, but he looked to have done enough there on only his second ever chase start. Any Second Now has now had 10 more runs on the track than Battleoverdoyen has had, so it's pleasing to gain that bit more experience going into the bigger tests ahead that he'll be facing.
There can be no doubt that Battleoverdoyen has to improve going into a Grade One as he did look laboured at times, but he's not the most experienced horse in the world either by any means and you'll see the best of him once he steps up in trip!
He will have learned plenty on the day and that's what you want.
Also, it was also great to see Shattered Love win on Thursday too. The good ground really got in her way last year and she'll go from strength to strength now with softer going.
Conflated One To Follow Later In The Season
I was on Conflated on Sunday at Cork, who was 3rd in a good maiden hurdle and there is definitely races to be had with him.
The two in front of us are decent horses in my opinion and Conflated ran a good race to place on the day.
As well all know, Gordon absolutely loves the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the festival and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he developed into a horse for a race like that.
As brilliant as it was to see Faugheen win again, Cracking Smart was frustrating on Saturday in the same race and he's not turning out, so far anyway, to be the horse I thought he could be.
At one point I really thought we were going to be involved in the business end of that race, as down the back he really came forward once I got into him a bit. He didn't follow through on his initial effort though and I'm slightly worried his few injuries may have mentally taken its toll on him.
There's still plenty of natural ability there, so hopefully he can get to a level I always believed he could reach.
The Troytown Chase
Navan is one of the best racecourses in the country and traditionally the yard has always done well on Sunday's card.
I worked Ravenhill last week and he seemed very well in himself. As I said previously in my 10 to follow blog, I think there is a bit more improvement in him, he was very unlucky in a competitive Kerry National last time and this race will suit him well.
Of course the plan could change before Sunday, but Ravenhill is meant to be going here and I'd fancy him for it if he does indeed go.
Editor Note:Ravenhill is a 20/1 shot with Paddy Power for the Troytown Chase on Sunday.
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