“I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him for the Gold Cup”
3 February 2016
Djakadam still on Gold Cup trail
Djakadam travelled and jumped well up to the point he fell at Cheltenham on Saturday. We had just gone past halfway and I couldn’t have been happier.
I am not sure why he fell. He was on a very long stride but he shortened himself just before the fence. We went to pop over it and didn’t get that tight, but he got overly high behind and ended up on his head.
His jumping had been brilliant since he last fell in the JLT at the Festival two years ago. I didn’t see it coming as he’s normally a very good jumper but I suppose it’s better to fall in the trial than in six weeks’ time.
I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him for the Gold Cup. I was at Willie’s (Mullins) yesterday and his vet was very happy with him and he’s 100% now.
I was impressed with Smad Place though. He was a good winner and not doing a pile in front.
I thought Yanworth was very good in the Neptune Trial. He travelled with unbelievable ease and jumped relatively well. The way he quickened from the last was eye-catching. He will be difficult to beat in the Neptune.
Runner-up Shantou Village ran a sound race for me on ground that was too soft for him. He will appreciate better ground, as his form suggests. He could be a very lively contender for the Albert Bartlett.
I think two miles was too sharp for Shaneshill at Doncaster. While it’s a big track, it’s quite quick and tight over the fences.
Morning Run was disappointing and she hasn’t shown the form of last year yet, but another run under her belt might bring about some improvement.
Up For Review was the biggest disappointment. He cried enough quite quickly. The winner Barters Hill gives you the imprssion that you have a chance against him but he's proved a difficult horse to beat. He will be a very tough horse to get by in the Albert Bartlett.
Felix faster than ever
Felix Yonger put up a good performance to win the Tied Cottage at Punchestown. He showed more pace than he has done before. He travelled very well and showed a really good turn of foot.
He idled a bit after the last which he’s done in the past so he doesn’t want to be in front too long. I was surprised how quickly he picked up Flemenstar which left me in front earlier than was ideal.
He won over two and a half miles at Navan last March but is a Grade One winner at Punchestown over two miles so I imagine he’ll go for the Queen Mother at the Festival.
The weekend ahead
Bellshill worked well yesterday and goes for the Deloitte at Leopardstown. He will have to be in good form this weekend and even more so in a few weeks’ time to beat Yanworth.
Willie has three in the Spring Hurdle. Allblak Des Places won at Fairyhouse and seems in good nick; Let’s Dance will have to improve to overturn form with Ivanovich Gorbatov, who looked very good at Leopardstown, while Footpad disappointed at Christmas but won at Gowran Park since.
It will be difficult to pick the right one of Willie’s but whichever one I ride, it’s going to be extremely difficult to beat Ivanovich Gorbatov
There is not much to choose between Valseur Lido, Sir Des Champs and On His Own in the Irish Gold Cup but Road To Riches looks the one to beat.
Sempre Medici has an entry at Sandown this weekend or the option of the Red Mills at Gowran Park the following week. He was an easy winner at Naas, then second in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham. He seems in good form and will be able to improve when the ground dries.