Thursday 22 February 2018

No stopping Dunboyne Express

It was good to get our first winners of the season on the board with a double at Leopardstown on Sunday. Dunboyne Express is a horse that we hope will have a big year ahead of him, so I was pleased that he won the Guineas Trial the way he did.

Quite how good the opposition was is hard to say, but the runner-up, Exodus, had won his maiden by nine lengths before finishing fourth in a Group One in France, so it can't have been that bad a race.

Probably the most important thing to take from Dunboyne Express' performance is that he has trained on. It's all systems go now for the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh in May, where he should get the bit of cut in the ground that he likes.

Youth and experience then combined when Celtic Dane completed the double to give young Sammy Bell her first win on just her third ride.

Sammy is from Co Down and has been with me for a couple of years. She is very light and, as her well-timed run on Celtic Dane showed, she could have a bright future in the saddle.

This is Celtic Dane's fifth season with us. A good friend of mine called Gareth McCann owns him in partnership and he has been lucky for him, winning the Galway Mile in 2008 and the Ulster Derby last year.

Last Sunday's win was his fifth in all, so we wouldn't complain if we had a few more like him. Hopefully, there will be some nice ones among this year's two-year-old crop.

I have run just one so far, Pinkisthecolour, which finished third at the Curragh. We were very pleased with the way she ran, but the others are more backward, so it will be most of a month yet before we are firing on all cylinders.

In all, we have 28 juveniles, which would be down eight or 10 on previous years. That's just a sign of the times, though I was looking at the returns from the first breeze-up sale of the year at Kempton on Tuesday, which were encouraging.

There seemed to be plenty of clients around, with a record price set for the sale. That must be a step in the right direction.

It has been a fairly steady week at home otherwise, with the changing of the clocks at the weekend meaning that it is a bit darker now when the horses go out in the morning.

Light permitting, we pull out at 7.0, but obviously that has been a little slower this week because of the lost hour. Still, that will change soon.

All Sunday's runners were in good fettle on Monday morning, and we worked horses on Tuesday and Thursday, as we always do. The routine here alters little over the course of 365 days every year, but that's the way we like it.

I am a member of the Curragh and Cill Dara golf clubs, so I might get out to play a few holes the odd afternoon if I'm lucky.

I love my fishing and shooting as well. If you can't make the time for recreational pursuits, there wouldn't be much point to all the rest of it.

Anyway, it will be business as usual over the weekend. I have a few entries at the Curragh on Sunday, though Brown Butterfly is the only one I'm pretty sure will run.

She didn't do badly in two maidens in the autumn. This will be her first start over a mile and a quarter and she is bred to stay, so hopefully she will run a good race.

Termagant, which has had problems and is a bit delicate, is also in the Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes. She ran only once last year when fifth in the 1,000 Guineas, and she ran all right when beaten three at the Curragh a fortnight ago.

I couldn't be confident that she will recapture her two-year-old form, but maybe she will pick up when the weather picks up. A lot of fillies just don't train on.

Having said that, Kissable is one that I'm hoping will prove herself this season. She was just touched off in the Moyglare last year, and could be up there with the best of my three-year-olds now.

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out

Irish Independent

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