Dad's Haymount has huge chance of turning trainers' title race around
My father Willie has not given up and victory in today's BoyleSports Irish Grand National (5.0) would give us a major chance in the trainers' title race.
Gordon Elliott attacks the race with a third of the runners, reflective of a campaign when his arsenal has been so strong in terms of numbers. Strangely, though, neither he nor Willie has won today's €500,000 feature.
The closest we came was when Away We Go was second in 2013. And I'm sweet on the chance of Ruby Walsh's mount, Haymount, going all the way.
He ticks a lot of the boxes. By Presenting, he will love the ground; he showed under me at Cheltenham he stays this trip. I felt then he'd be better going right-handed. He now does. Moreover, the stronger gallop in the National will suit him, as the four-miler at Cheltenham was rather stop-start. He has to have a huge chance.
Sambremont has been disappointing this year, even if we think he is better than his mark. He's in and out; some day he may pop up but it's not easy to be confident. Arbre De Vie has very strong form in that Navan run behind Acapella Bourgeois.
That said, Haymount is the main hope; and when it comes to the trainers' title, this is the pivotal race. Not only can we not afford to lose ground, we can't afford to stand still. We really need to make ground over the three days.
Even finishing second in the National is worth €100,000. This is the type of race Gordon has dominated all season and, with Gigginstown having 14 declared, it is a huge show of strength from Michael O'Leary's operation.
It makes life very difficult for everybody else and we can only do our best.
I am deeply thankful to the Mees, the owners, for very kindly letting me be reunited with Hidden Cyclone in the first (2.45). We are two from three together and, of course, I am trying to win my own amateur championship - I'm currently level with Jamie Codd.
I will ride him and then scurry off to Cork for the bumper to steer Fabulous Saga (5.15) by helicopter.
'The Cyclone' is wrong at the weights with Jezki and Diakali but beat Diakali at Leopardstown. Jezki had a hard race at Cheltenham. There is hope.
My flat-mate Rachael Blackmore, I hope, can win the conditionals' crown; her mount Ex Patriot will be hard to beat in the four-year-olds' race (3.15). Dandy Mag was disappointing at Cheltenham but this half-brother to Vroum Vroum Mag is better than that.
Orion d'Aubrelle won his maiden in France but is a chasing type which might not be as early maturing as some of these; he's one for the future.
Sure Reef has lots of ability but has been disappointing post-injury.
Perhaps the ground can bring about progress in the handicap hurdle (3.50), in which I am keen on Aussie Reigns. His Flat rating suggests a jumps mark in the 120s is to be exploited. He is better than that in my view.
Gordon has five and we have two in the Grade Two (4.25). Renneti has an awful lot of ability and could have won the County Hurdle but got going too late. Whiteout hopefully can get black type.
I feel the ground will suit Westerner Lady more than Slowmotion (5.35). And, to conclude, I am not going to Cork for one ride for no reason! Jamie will be hard to beat but, like Dad, I'm not giving up.
Patrick's National verdict
2: Our Duke
3: Tiger Roll