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Rubi serves notice of festival 'soft' touch

Rubi Light's success in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park last Saturday was a fantastic result for our yard. He had previously finished second to Golden Silver at Fairyhouse, so I was confident he would run a big race, and he didn't let me down.

In fact, last Friday I backed Rubi Light each-way for next month's Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. He was 200/1 for that then, and I knew his price would collapse if he ran as well as I expected him to at Gowran. Sure enough, he is 20/1 for the Ryanair now.

As long as 'soft' is in the going description, the plan would be to run Rubi Light at Cheltenham, though we won't be going just for the sake of having a runner. He is already the tenth-highest-rated chaser in the country, but is only a six-year-old, so we'll only do what's best for the horse's future.

With Sublimity in the twilight of his career, it's great to have another good horse coming on stream, and we made sure to celebrate in good style on Saturday night.

The Ardlea Inn in Artane is run by my family, so we spent most of the evening there, before dropping into The Auld Stand in Ratoath for a nightcap on the way home.

You need to enjoy the good days. Our horses had been sick for a month and we'd been pulling our hair out, so it was a relief to bring that frustration to an end. And for Rubi Light to do it by 10 lengths in a Grade Two put a smile on everyone's face.

Needless to say, I was nursing a mild hangover on Sunday morning, one that wasn't helped by my having to get up early to ride out Sublimity.

Most of the horses stand in on Sundays, but Sublimity is a stuffy individual and needs to get out every day.

Once I had finished on him, myself and my wife Seana loaded up the two kids and headed for Belfast. Alison and James were on their mid-term break on Monday, so it was an opportunity for us all to get away. We took the kids to the W5 science centre, enjoyed a couple of meals out, and made our way home at our leisure on Monday.

With Tuesday being a work morning in our place, it was back to the grindstone straight away. We boxed all this weekend's runners over to Colin Magnier's gallops in Skryne, where I put Sublimity through his paces myself.


He felt great. Even at 11, he can still work with the best of them, and he should take plenty beating at Leopardstown on Sunday if the ground continues to dry out.

Like the rest of ours, he wasn't right when he disappointed in the Champion Hurdle last month, but he is back on song now. When Andrew Lynch came in to give him a school yesterday morning, you could see that all the old enthusiasm was still there.

This afternoon, attention turns to Navan, where we run three. Soldier Bay, which is in the novices' handicap hurdle, would be the best of them. He has dropped down the handicap a fair bit and is working well, so he should be a solid each-way bet at a decent price.

Maddoxtown and Ithinkbest run in the maiden hurdles. Both of those will need better ground to be seen at their best, but Navan is only up the road from us, and they will benefit from the education.

Ithinkbest -- like Sublimity -- is one that we bought out of Michael Stoute's yard, where he used to be Workforce's lead horse. From the standard of his work at home, it's obvious why he got that particular job, and I'm really looking forward to seeing him at the festivals during the summer when the ground dries up.

As for next month's Festival, I have also entered Sublimity for the County Hurdle. He has dropped to a mark of 150 here, so we'll see what the English handicapper does now.

Cheltenham is as good as it gets for anyone involved in the jumping game, and it would be nice to take him back there for a race like that; one that he could potentially be competitive in. That said, we'll need to see how he fares on Sunday first.

As with Rubi Light, though for different reasons, we would have no interest in taking Sublimity to Cheltenham just to make up the numbers. He has been too good a servant for that.

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out


Irish Independent