'Rain, rain go away and come again another day'
found myself humming that childhood rhyme yesterday as I sat in our new changing room, the glass-walled panoramic Champagne bar. The first glass-walled changing room in the world I suspect, but with precious few souls around to see we've got on with the job at hand.
My ride in today's Galway Hurdle, Aramon, wants nice quick ground to be at his best, so every drop of rain that fell yesterday felt like a nail in the coffin of our chance.
His challenge was unenviable regardless. While five of the last 10 winners have carried more than 11st, only one top weight has triumphed in the last 20 years.
That was Sharjah, off a mark of 147 and with a weight of 11st 7lb. Aramon is set to lug 11st 10lb from a mark of 155.
He is 6lb higher than when he was second in the County Hurdle off top weight and although people are pointing to his Tipperary win, he has been penalised for that, and so it's hard to think he has much more scope left for improvement.
This race is guaranteed to be run at a furious pace with Felix Desjy a major fan of runaway train impressions. He has proved on several occasions that he can keep going, so the field will be at pains not to give him too much rope which should help make this a fair race with plenty of space and a lack of hard-luck stories.
It will be fascinating to watch the peloton tracking the hare.
Paul Townend rides Buildmeupbuttercup. She won here last year and has run with respect in several high-class handicaps, but she seems to struggle to stay. She receives 4lb more off Aramon than at Cheltenham where she was only two heads behind him, but I fear the strong pace and the rain-softened ground will tell against her once they begin to rise after the second last.
Mt Leinster won well here on Monday and didn't have a hard race. The fast pace will enable him to settle well, but his worry are the rubber green things that appear every so often.
The jumps here are well spread out though, so they don't break your rhythm as much as other tracks, and I believe average jumpers are penalised less over these Easyfix hurdles.
If he can avoid any serious errors, I think he will go very close.
Russian Diamond is sent straight into a Graded chase which is a big ask, but he schools well at home and it isn't the strongest field.
Indeed, should he line up in a winter beginners chase it would probably have more strength in depth.
He has the physique and the ability to run well here and should not be overlooked.
Jon Snow has been disappointing thus far. He is a horse who works well at home, but I suspect he is actually more suited to stamina than speed. The trip here will suit him and I think his winter form is good enough to improve his win ratio here.
Power of Pause bids to make it third time lucky. He ran well the first day in Thurles before under-performing in Leopardstown afterwards. I would draw a line through that run.
He struck me as a horse who is too pretty to revel in winter ground and although the ground is on the slow side for summer racing today, it is far better than what we would encounter in Thurles in the winter. I expect him to collect.
Russian Diamond (5.45)
Jon Snow (7.15)
Power of Pause (8.15)