It’s great to see Coneygree back and I think he is going to take a lot of beating in the Betfair Chase if he retains all the ability that saw him win the Gold Cup in 2015.
I think the heavy conditions could play to his strengths more than his main form rival Cue Card, but of course he will be need be hard-fit to see out what will clearly be very gruelling conditions. I am guessing that he will be.
Obviously we took our two horses out of the race at the overnight stage, and I am riding at Punchestown today:
Tout Est Permis
Landofhopeandglory is clearly going to take a lot of beating here. He was rated 102 on the Flat and impressed me at Fairyhouse, and probably everyone else, too. But I think I have an each-way chance against him at a price; he has plenty to find but he had a nice run in Down Royal earlier this month, jumps well and likes soft ground. We are hoping there is a lot more to come from him and we could hit the frame
Let’s Dance is officially 12lb higher on ratings and gets 3lb from us, so our task is there for all to see. But I believe there is plenty of improvement in my filly and we are certainly not without a winning chance. She was a good bumper horse last season, I was impressed when I won on her at Tipperary last month and she ran a cracker when just touched off at Down Royal last time. I wouldn’t be afraid to take on the winner again – my filly spent a lot of time in the air there – and the step up to 2m2f on soft ground will suit her. She also has race-fitness on her side against the favourite.
He had a lot of problems last year after I won a maiden hurdle on him first time out at Gowran (from a horse now rated 148) , and his form just fell away afterwards. He had a big reputation at Willie’s at the time but he became to hard to train with his problems. He has always been a chaser in the making and he has been working and jumping well at Gordon’s, and I think he will give a good account of himself in this Beginners’ Chase. It’s a very decent race, though, with Coney Island and Woodland Opera obvious rivals.
He showed improved form to win on good ground at Wexford last time and I think a mark of 112 is reasonable in this handicap hurdle. I think he will stay further but 2m in this softer ground should be okay for him. This is competitive though and I would say Presenting Percy is the pick of these weights off just 115. He won well at Galway and he ran well in the Grade 1 bumper, beaten only 12 lengths by Blow By Blow, here in April. Both runs suggest he is well-treated here.
I have sat on him a couple of times at Gordon’s. He is not without ability but he was beaten a long way at Naas earlier in the month, and everyone in Ireland knows how highly Willie’s Senewalk is regarded and horses like Moulin A Vent have already shown a good level of form over hurdles, and there are unexposed point winners in here, too. This could be a very good race.