Monday 27 March 2017

Disappointed at not rubbing it in McCoy's face!

Robbie McNamara

I was due to ride in the first three point-to-points at Bennettsbridge last Sunday before going on to Naas to ride Sizing Mexico in the bumper.

Henry De Bromhead's horse looked the part when he won his point-to-point and first bumper, so it was a plum ride to get and at Bennettsbridge I would have ridden another lovely horse called Accurate Approach for Eddie Hales. Sadly, the weather put paid to those plans.

In the end, I re-routed to Bunclody for a round of golf with Matty O'Connor, which obviously didn't do either of us any harm as we have both had a good week. I just got to Fairyhouse on time on Wednesday to watch Matty ride his first winner after returning from a serious head injury.

He has had some near misses lately and I think he was starting to wonder if it would ever come, so it was great that he had a bit of luck on Kimberlite King. I watched the race on the television, and I'm sure I saw a smile on his face coming down to the last fence when he felt he had the race in the bag -- good job they got over it safely!

Apart from a trip to the gym for a run and a sweat, Monday was fairly uneventful. Tuesday morning then was a schooling morning at Dermot Weld's on the Curragh.

Among others, I schooled Rite Of Passage, which went really well. He has done nothing wrong over hurdles, and I'd be very disappointed it he were to get beaten at Cheltenham. Mr Weld hasn't told me if I'll keep the ride yet and I haven't asked, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for now.

Neither have plans been finalised for the Champion Bumper. Obviously, Mr Weld has Elegant Concorde and Hidden Universe in that, and either would be a great spin.

If I don't ride one of them, I'll ride Drumbaloo for James Lambe. Drumbaloo has won a point-to-point and three bumpers now -- two for me -- and I'd be more than happy to ride him if I'm not on one of Mr Weld's.

That afternoon I had a double at Fairyhouse. Any day you go racing and come home with a winner is a good day, so to come away with two was great.

New Phase won well for Mr Weld, and I took the bumper on Michael Hourigan's Crash. That one had already won its point-to-point at Dromahane. Michael O'Leary owns him, and he's typical of his stamp of horse, a smashing chasing type. He'll have a big future over jumps.

The only disappointment from the day's racing was that Tony McCoy, who was on the odds-on favourite Dr Whizz, couldn't keep up with New Phase in the straight.

He was flapping away on my outside turning in, and I was looking forward to making the most of it. I don't get to ride against him too often, so it would have been nice to rub it in a little bit!

Afterwards, Mr Weld's son Kris, who owns New Phase, took myself and a couple of other lads for a meal in Fallon's in Kilcullen. I didn't have to do light the next day, so I was happy to indulge in a bit of quality grub.

I had no luck at Fairyhouse on Wednesday but landed another bumper on Dynamic Approach for Eddie Hales at Thurles yesterday, and I am looking forward to belatedly partnering Sizing Mexico at Leopardstown on Sunday. I've a couple of nice rides at Dundalk tonight too.

In the first bumper on the card I ride Goliah for Valerie Keatley. I gave him a spin at the Curragh on Wednesday morning and he goes well, but his effort petered out on his only other run at Kilbeggan in August. If he stays, he should have a chance.

In the second bumper, I'm on The Great Outdoors for Barry Lacey. I don't know much about her, but she's a half-sister to For Bill, so that can't be bad.

Bennettsbridge has also been rescheduled for tomorrow, and Accurate Approach, which would have won on his debut at Tallow but for tipping up, will run. Unfortunately, I can't ride him now, as I got a bit excited in a tight finish at Gowran Park recently and received a one-day ban for my troubles. I suspect he'll manage fine without me.

Irish Independent

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