I won’t choose between the Fly and Faugheen until nearer the time
5 January 2015
It was a magnificent day at Leopardstown when Hurricane Fly beat Jezki. There was a big crowd and if horses of the caliber of Hurricane Fly and Jezki cannot attract a crowd then nobody can.
The Ryanair Hurdle was a truly-run race and the JP McManus horses built up the tempo in the back straight. It was a good test of stamina as much as of speed and it was a great race to be part of. Hurricane Fly keeps on answering the question.
We were bit disappointed with how Arctic Fire ran in the Fighting Fifth so I wasn’t surprised by how close he was. We have always thought he had huge potential. – he was third in the Grade One. It was good to see him prove that on the track and he ran a blinder.
I don’t know why Hurricane Fly runs so well at Leopardstown. The course is a bit like Cheltenham. When you go to the very inside like we did last week it is a different racecourse to the one when you are out close to the fences. He seems to handle both. I just think he knows where the winning post is, I suppose.
He has won two Champion Hurdles but has been disappointing when he got beaten in the other two. When Rock On Ruby beat him in 2013, I could have ridden him closer to the pace and last year I might have ridden him too close to it.
It will be no tougher to decide between him than Kauto Star and Denman and I got that one wrong! The way I look at it, it is great to have two rides of that standard in a race. I’ll worry about it much closer to the time.
It was about time Urano pulled it together when he won at Cork on Saturday.
We always thought he was a decent horse but things just didn’t work out for him. He always worked like a horse who had plenty of speed. He jumped super, travelled really well and quickened up smartly down the straight. It wasn’t the most competitive race in the world but it was a good performance and hopefully he can progress because over hurdles he seemed to regress.
Sabremont is a full brother to Djakadam and will definitely improve with another summer’s grass. He jumped super the other day. I know he beat only a handicapper in Germany John that day but for a horse with only one start over hurdles to outpoint a horse like that takes some doing.
Avant Tout will improve with a step up in trip.
Blood Cotil is a bit of a head scratcher after his third at Naas.
He was badly hampered at the first, and Fine Rightly, ridden by Davy Russell, usually jumps right but went violently left.
He hit us square into the shoulder and took the front legs away from Blood Cotil. It cost me five to six lengths getting walloped at the first. I had no intention of being that far back in the race and from there I always seemed to be flat out.
He galloped all the way to the line, having said that. If you go back far enough in his form he beat Diakali at Auteuil but just seems to be one of those horses who is unlucky.
I’ll hopefully be at Punchestown this weekend. We have Douvan in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle. If Douvan goes there I will definitely be there to ride him.
Douvan was very good the other day. He beat Sizing John well and that horse went on to win the Grade One Future Champions at Leopardstown over Christmas. He looks a very good horse and looks like he could be better next year and will improve with time. He has a huge frame.