I thought he would run better than he did in the Ballymore last time, but hopefully the step down in trip, and maybe a change of tactics, will see him show us more here. To be fair to him, he had only the one hurdling start before going to Cheltenham, so perhaps it was a case of too much too soon, as well. But he won his point and bumper before running well against a smart horse on his hurdling debut at Leicester – he had a small setback afterwards – and he remains a smart prospect for us. I just hope he doesn’t find this trip on this track on the sharp side.
I gave him a shocking ride at Newbury last time. I went too soon and too quick on him over 2m there. I think I would have been a very good second if I had ridden him differently, and the winner has followed up at Ludlow since, so I think being dropped 2lb for that run is a positive. The ground is a worry for me as I think he wants it better, but he ran really well for a long way when fourth in the Sefton here in December. If he handles the ground, then I think he has a big chance off 10 stone, back up in trip.
I can’t get my head around how badly he ran in the Albert Bartlett. He just never turned up, and I was never really happy with him at any stage. Hopefully, it was a case of an off-day and he was beaten too far out for the 3m trip to be an issue. His previous form in beating Mulcahys Hill and Kilbricken Storm in the Challow, and his earlier third to On The Blind Side at Cheltenham when he was giving the winner 5lb, make him a leading contender, so let’s hope he can bounce back to his best.
Mercy Mercy Me
This horse has impressed me from day one. He was excellent on his debut at Sandown in November and I was very happy with his eighth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. He did particularly well considering the occasion got to him a bit there, and he ran a bit too free in the race itself, and maybe I will ride him closer to the pace here. I can see him going really well, and the softer the ground the better for him.
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