Thursday 16 August 2018

'Jade' and 'Stormy' can turn big finale into another ladies day

Kemboy, with Paul Townend up. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Kemboy, with Paul Townend up. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Patrick Mullins

And so we come to the end of an extraordinary week, in which the highlights came thick and fast.

Un De Sceaux's exhilarating exhibition when defeating Douvan.

Paul Townend's terrific treble on Wednesday, a man holding his head when many round him were losing theirs.

Bellshill's victory over the splendid Djakadam.

Faugheen's remarkable redemption in the Stayers Hurdle.

Supasundae taking full advantage of Samcro's unfortunate capitulation.

This week has shown everything that makes this sport so great, why it makes the heart race and the pulse quicken. Peerless Punchestown indeed.

Last Tuesday morning it was possible but highly unlikely that we could catch Gordon Elliott in the trainers' title race.

Like watching Jake and Elwood Blue trying to gather the five thousand to save The Penguins' struggling orphanage, you knew it would be entertaining but surely they'd ultimately come up short.

The incredible turnaround was nothing short of astonishing.

My father's yard has issued a bold denial of the rumour that the crown was slipping. Not this year at least. The trophy will remain on the island in the kitchen at Closutton.

Yesterday Katie Walsh got a spare ride on Anthey, beat Barry Geraghty in a photo finish and promptly announced her retirement.

Katie has been one of the top amateurs for the past decade. She has won several races at the Cheltenham Festival, including the Champion Bumper this year on Relegate.

She had a fantastic association with Thousand Stars, which she now has at her home.

She is witty, intelligent and a fabulous jockey. She will be much missed from the weigh room which will be far less colourful without her, not to mention in the long car journeys to and from the races in the summer.

Gordon and Gigginstown still have two of their best bullets to fire today. Apple's Jade is a fabulous mare which clearly didn't perform at Cheltenham.

Benie Des Dieux took full advantage but if I'm honest I was a little disappointed with her.

With Apple's Jade disappointing, I thought she should have won easier.

It was her first run over hurdles in Ireland or England so she is entitled to improve but I think her strength is jumping fences.

With that in mind I think a back-to-her-best Apple's Jade will be hard to beat.

Farclas won the Triumph Hurdle in Cheltenham defeating Mr Adjudicator, which reversed their Leopardstown form.

There is very little between these two and I wonder can Stormy Ireland beat both of the boys.

She is a tiny little mare but she has a big heart. She ran too keen in Cheltenham but this track will suit her far more.

There are more jumps, which give her a chance to keep a lead. She has recovered well from her fall in Cheltenham and she can make amends here.

PATRICK'S PICKS

Apple's Jade (3.50)

Stormy Ireland (4.25)

Passageway (6.10)

Irish Independent

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