Wednesday 22 November 2017

Hoping to cook up bit of a storm for the busiest week of summer


I had no runners at The Curragh last Saturday, which meant I was able sit down at home and enjoy the Munster hurling final. As a Waterford man, I took great pleasure in watching the lads win such a closely fought game against their old rivals Cork.

Kilkenny are still the benchmark, though. Whoever is going to beat them will need to put in a serious performance -- and Kilkenny would need to have an off day as well. That's the reality of the situation, so we'll savour a Munster title while it's going.

On Sunday I had runners at The Curragh and Tipperary.

I went to Tipperary, mainly because it's a bit closer to home. Bahrain Storm won nicely. On paper, I thought he was the clear pick and I knew he was seriously well in himself. Next week's Galway Hurdle will be a different challenge, a huge task.

People say it's practically impossible to win the race with more than 11st, but what else do you do -- stay at home and watch it on TV?

We have to try anyway. He has won the race already and all I can do is have him the best I can on the day and hope things fall right for him.

Mon Champion won the Ladies Derby up at The Curragh to make it a double for the day. Lisa O'Neill, the girl who rode him, rang me up looking for the ride.

She had ridden only one winner before and I've never met her, but she said she was fit and sounded keen, so I put her up.

It worked out well. Mon Champion might go to Galway if I can get him into the mile-and-a-half handicap on Wednesday.

She's Our Mark, which ran a super race to be third at The Curragh over an inadequate trip, will go to Cork next week for a Group Three. That has been her aim for a while, so Sunday should have left her spot on.

We had another double at Ballinrobe on Monday evening, though I didn't travel as it would have taken me out of the yard for the whole day.

Yes Missus won the maiden in good fashion. She'll step up to handicap company for a first time at Galway on Wednesday in the three-year-olds' race over a mile and she's entitled to go there now.

I was especially pleased to see Binocular win at Ballinrobe. He has been on the go non-stop for over a year and I remember him sending me off on my holidays with a spring in my step after winning at Tramore on New Year's Day. Fair play to him, he's still going strong.


Tuesday was a busy work morning. We galloped about 25 horses at home and I took five away for a racecourse gallop. Worldly Wise was one of those. The Topaz Mile next Tuesday has been his target for weeks and he did a lovely piece of work, but, if the ground doesn't dry out I'd be worried.

The following day, most of the horses just did an easy canter before being weighed. We record all the weights routinely, even if some of them might never get looked at.

The thing about it is, they are a good point of reference if you're not happy with the way a horse looks or if it has run bad or something.

On Wednesday evening, Aoibhinn was sent off favourite for the apprentices' race at Naas.

Shortly beforehand, the skies opened, which put paid to her chance as she needs good ground. When they came in after, I hardly recognised Joseph O'Brien up on her back, he was so caked in mud -- the joys of it.

At Wexford tonight, Scots Gaelic has a decent chance in the 11-furlong maiden. The penny dropped for him at Bellewstown last time and he was only beaten a short head, so he should go well again now.

His full-sister, Skiing In Tune, runs in the bumper. She ran promisingly on her debut at Limerick and will be thereabouts if she sees out the trip.

It's on to Galway then next week, the busiest week of the summer. I'd hope to have 10 or 12 to go to war with, including a smashing unraced bumper horse of Dr Michael Smurfit's called Mister Music Man. The team is in good health, so hopefully they will all get there in one piece -- that can often be the hardest part.

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out

Irish Independent

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