Douvan was effortless but Min has more to do
3 January 2017
It was a terrific end for the year. The horses were in really good form over Christmas and during the past fortnight I have had 13 winners.
Douvan would be the highlight of many people’s Christmas period and he was very good at Leopardstown in the Paddy Power Cashcard Chase – his win coming only a fortnight after he won at Cork.
He jumped super and travelled really well. He just does things so effortlessly. He didn’t do anything he wasn’t entitled to do but he went there and got the job done.
Min has some tougher times ahead but he was impressive in the Racing Post Novice Chase. He has jumped really well in his two starts at Navan and Leopardstown – certainly better than he did over hurdles.
He was entitled to win at Navan – the two he beat, Three Wise Men and Edwulf, were no Altiors. And then at Leopardstown where Identity Thief pulled up took away from that performance.
Min can only do what he is asked to do, however, and he jumped superbly and galloped really strongly at Leopardstown. Obviously Altior beat him in last season’s Supreme so stiffer challenges lie ahead.
Merie Devie had been working very well at home before her win in the maiden hurdle and had very little experience jumping-wise, having come from the Flat in France. She ran to a pretty high standard there, even contesting a Group One.
She has a great attitude and beat Housesofparliament fair and square on the day. You would have to like the way she went about things and you would have to like how she started off her career over hurdles.
Let’s Dance won the mares hurdle by 17 lengths. Last Christmas I thought she would win the race Merie Devie won but she ran into Ivanovich Gorbatov, who went on to win the Triumph Hurdle.
She ran in all the big races but she stayed a maiden and so is a novice. She could easily step up in trip, and you would have to be happy with what she did at Leopardstown. Every door is still open to her.
Finally, I would like to say a word on Nichols Canyon. I don’t want to take anything away from Petit Mouchoir, who was a very good winner of the Ryanair Hurdle. But looking at the form from Nichols Canyon to Ivanovich Gorbatov, Footpad and Jer’s Girl I don’t think it was his true running. He jumped a bit to his right and it was a tame effort from him. He is usually such a tough horse.
It is a quiet week but we have the Grade One Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas on Sunday.
Gordon Eliott’s Death Duty is penciled in to line up and he looks the one to beat. But we still have Augusta Kate, Asthuria, and Tarcagua entered on there so we will give it a good go.