He needed his first run of the season last year and that may have been the case again on his comeback over 3m1f here last month, where he just looked to get a bit tired, not that I was on board on either occasion. The handicapper has helped by dropping him 2lb – and he probably needs that help at his age – and he is just 2lb higher than when winning well for me at Exeter in February. He has also run some of his better efforts here, winning twice and only just getting touched off here last December, and hopefully he can run yet another good race on a track he loves. He has a nice racing weight and I can see him running a massive race.
He hasn’t raced since August, when he looks to have run okay in midfield in Galway. He is better than he showed there though, and put up three decent efforts at the turn of the year, among those a win at Leopardstown. He stays this trip well, decent ground looks fine for him, and hopefully he is weighted to take a hand, though I see the English handicapper has given him an extra 2lb. That was nice of him.
He went up 7lb for winning this race by 7 lengths last year, but he has come down 4lb in the weights since then and hopefully he is ready to strike winning form once again in this competitive handicap. I have ridden him on all three of his starts this season and, while he ran well in two novice chases, he came back to hurdles here last month. Ironically, he fell there, but I thought he was in the process of running a nice race when he got rid of me at the last. We know this longer 3m1f trip suits him well, and hopefully his stamina will kick in late here, as it did last season. I rode and schooled him on Tuesday and he was very, very well.
I got it totally wrong by not going to ride her at Aintree last time. I thought the combination of a 4lb penalty and her improving for the run would make it tough for her. But I was totally wrong. To be fair, I think she surprised us all there by giving weight and a beating to Posh Trish, and I was also very surprised by the fact that she lost the race in the stewards room as I thought Alain Cawley gave her the perfect ride. But we will put that behind us, she has improved for the run and comes here in great form. We are confident of another big run from her.
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