Hopeful Rajik can repay faith
On Monday we supplemented Rajik for tomorrow's Irish St Leger at The Curragh. At a cost of €24,000, that wasn't done on a whim, but I spoke to Richard McNally, who runs the syndicate that owns the horse, and we decided to go for it.
Our rationale was that you might never have one in form and good enough to go for a race like this again. Rajik has been at the top of his game recently and has won a good few quid in the process, so we felt he had earned the right take his chance.
No matter what race he runs in, he's the type of horse that only ever does enough, but he's as tough as nails, which means it's hard to find out exactly how good he is. Having said that, his most impressive win came over tomorrow's course and distance when he won the Ballycullen Stakes in August, so that augurs well.
Other than that, Monday was a miserable morning on the gallops. We got a few lots out and had to make do with taking a few more into the indoor school, but the rain was needed -- I just wish it would fall overnight.
That evening I had three runners at Roscommon. Best Think Twice was the pick of them when second in the bumper under Nina Carberry. In hindsight, we should probably have made more use of him as there was no pace on and he stays really well, but it's easy to say that now. He will win a bumper yet.
Thanks to Monday's rain, we were able to get all the horses on the grass gallop for the first time in a while on Tuesday. Because they bounce so easily off the all-weather, they need practice on grass, especially the winter horses. If you've got one running in the last race on heavy ground some day, they need to know how to handle it.
I rode Rajik myself and he felt super. He has some decent form on testing ground, so I don't think the ground will be a concern either way tomorrow. Lonesome Dove also went nicely. She won a bumper in heavy going last year and is entered at Listowel next week, where she should run well.
In the evening I went for a three-mile run. I was due to ride in the legends' race at Doncaster on Wednesday, so I needed a blow-out. And I did blow.
I had four pounds to lose to do the weight as well, but it was worth it. My ride, Miami Gator, likes to make the running and I was able to dictate the pace from the start. To be honest, he won well. He was a nice straightforward ride, which suited me just fine! The whole day was really enjoyable. It was lovely to be back in the weigh room with so many old colleagues, all of whom I rode against at some stage in the past.
The highlight of it all, though, was undoubtedly the phone call I got from my kids afterwards, as they wouldn't have been old enough to see me racing before I retired seven years ago. David is the eldest at 11, followed by Harry (eight), Olivia (seven) and Max (two), so it was nice for them to see me ride a winner.
I stayed on for the yearling sales at Doncaster yesterday, but I wanted to get back in time to ride Rajik in his last piece of exercise this morning. Even though he won't be doing much more than a canter, you're always a bit cautious before a big race, so I just want to be there to sit on him myself.
This evening, once there isn't a downpour, I will run Dream Dream Dream in the Cruise Handicap and Zaralabad in Her Majesty's Plate at Down Royal.
Dream Dream Dream was in season when she disappointed last time and I'm expecting an improved show now, while the conditions of Zaralabad's race will suit him. As long as the ground is yielding or better, he has a chance of following up his Bellewstown win.
Another to keep an eye on is Flameoftheforest. He will run at either The Curragh on Sunday or Listowel on Wednesday and is a colt that will love this softer ground.
As for the big race tomorrow, we can just hope that our gamble pays off. Rajik needs to finish third at worst to get all of the outlay back, but we wouldn't have paid the fee if we didn't think he would give it a fair rattle.
For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie