Berties Dream set to ensure Waley-Cohen cold streak continues
Sam Waley-Cohen warms up for Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup ride on the former Dessie Hughes-trained Frisco Depot with a spin on his returning 2011 Grand National runner-up Oscar Time at Thurles this afternoon.
If securing a thrilling Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph on Long Run last year was the pinnacle of what can be achieved by a well-heeled amateur rider embracing the Corinthian spirit, Waley-Cohen has since endured the less exalted side of his 'hobby'.
With the accomplished 30-year-old's rides at a premium and most of those he does get taking place at the highest end of the spectrum, winners are hard found.
Apart from his valiant Aintree turn on Oscar Time – which his father Robert purchased to stay in training at Martin Lynch's Castletown Geoghegan yard – Waley-Cohen's only real fillip since Long Run's finest hour was when the same horse scrambled home at Newbury last February.
It is an example of the curious predicament that someone in his position finds himself that a Gold Cup-winning jockey could only ride just a single winner through most of the next two years.
Whether Oscar Time – off with a tendon injury since an outing over hurdles at today's venue 12 months ago – can provide the spark to reignite Waley-Cohen's confidence is hard to know. On its second start since that gallant Liverpool outing on faster than ideal ground – that, no doubt, was the source of his consequent injury – the 11-year-old faces five rivals in the Glen Chase.
Judging from Lynch's comments, the veteran might need the run at this stage of a campaign that will be geared towards Aintree once again. "This race is a suitable starting point. Hopefully, we'll be able to take it in," said Lynch.
With the heavy going unlikely to play to Forpadydeplasterer's strengths, this may be an opportunity for Henry de Bromhead's dour stayer Berties Dream to bag a third successive course win under Andrew Lynch.
Later on, Davy Russell is napped to take the two-mile-six-furlong beginners' chase on Charlie Swan's Make A Track, while the champion jockey's fellow Cork native Jane Mangan is tipped to bag the handicap that follows on her father Jimmy's Annacarton.