Sunday 17 December 2017

Jamesie lights fuse for our sizzling run

Our horses are on a roll at the moment. Since Fairyhouse last Sunday, we've had five winners, and even the horses that aren't winning are earning a cheque of some sort.

While the winners are important, the main thing is that the horses are well. Prior to June, we had just one winner, but the horses were running fine and getting placed. Once they are not being beaten far, your fortunes can quickly turn around.

Our luck changed as soon as we hit June. Over the past six weeks, eight of our horses have won 10 races, and they have really struck form this week.

Jamesie started it all on Sunday. I was at the Newmarket sales last week and the plan had been to run him in a valuable handicap there on Friday until he got balloted out.

All's well that ends well, though. I declared him for Fairyhouse instead and he continued his progress by obliging for a second time in a row for Colm O'Donoghue.

His owner, Damian Lavelle, a Belmullet man, touched down from a holiday in Portugal just in time to be there. Things have continued apace since. At Killarney on Monday, Aragorn Icon, a horse that won last time on the same card as Jamesie at Tipperary, also won again for Colm.

The following day, Cool Athlete scored at Dundalk. That was a great result as he had only recently been bought by his new owners the Equine Friends Syndicate, which meant that they tasted success on their very first outing. Then Syann and Grace And Beauty doubled up at Killarney on Wednesday, so it has been a bit of a whirlwind week; not to mention a busy one.

My own day usually starts at 6.0 or 6.30 so by the time you get home from an evening meeting, you'll have had a pretty long one. That's just the way it is.

I have to watch the horses work and so on before I leave, and I can tell you I know the road to Killarney from Bansha backwards after this week!

Still, it's great to be busy. Because we don't have many National Hunt horses, the winters tend to be quiet anyway. Of course, the long summer days feel a lot shorter when the horses are in the form that they are in right now.

One of the reasons why we came out of the blocks slowly this year is because we have a very different team of horses to what we would have had before. We cleared out a lot of the old handicappers and took on a bundle of big, raw two-year-olds.

As a result, we actually have a smaller pool of horses running for us at the moment. In the long run, it's exciting to have the fresh blood to look forward to. And with the horses that are running performing so well, hopefully Galway will be good to us again.

Ballybrit has been a lucky venue for us over the past few years. Our horses generally seem to run well at this time of year, and I target the Festival as much as I can. Owners love to have a runner there.

At the end of the day, there are few better places to have a winner, so it is important that if there is a suitable race for a horse we do our best to get it there in peak condition. Suffice to say that many of our recent winners will put in an appearance.

In the meantime, we'll have a couple of runners at The Curragh over the weekend. I'd be expecting a big run from Foot Perfect on Sunday, and then there's He's Got Rhythm tomorrow.

As part of a new reality television series that begins next Wednesday evening on RTE One, Linda Martin has been spending a bit of time at our yard to learn about training racehorses. The former Eurovision winner is due to travel with us to The Curragh for He's Got Rhythm's race, so there'll be long faces if the horse doesn't play his part for the cameras -- no pressure!

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out

Irish Independent

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