Rick the perfect tonic to cure what ails me
Having been laid up with a bout of this miserable flu that is doing the rounds, I spent a lot of time convalescing in bed last weekend. It's nothing out of the usual for this time of year, I suppose, but it really is a bad dose.
Although I felt dreadful, I did get out of the scratcher to go racing and our few winners made it worthwhile. In fairness, the horses have been running well all season but it is just so hard to win races.
Since New Year's Eve, from 35 runs, I've had 17 horses finish second, third or fourth. That's a lot of near misses, but the racing is competitive so it's not an unusual return.
We also had four wins, with three of those coming in good races on Saturday and Sunday. When the winners do come, it's nice to land a couple of decent pots.
Some people were surprised that Rick beat Blackstairmountain at Punchestown on Saturday but he is a proper horse and he will be even better on better ground.
Like Stonemaster, he is just out of his novice season so it is hard to find races for him. The World Hurdle at Cheltenham and then the equivalent at Punchestown are about the only two obvious targets, so they could both run in those races.
Magnanimity also toppled an odds-on shot when he beat Jessies Dream on Sunday. That was no surprise to me as he has always been a good horse and he won despite the two-mile-five-furlong trip at Leopardstown being on the short side for him.
He is an out-and-out three-miler, he's honest and he jumps -- a typical Gigginstown horse. The Grade One Dr PJ Moriarty Chase is an option for him back at Leopardstown next month but I might give him an extra week and run him in the Grade Two Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan instead.
That is over a full three miles, which would suit better, while there'd still be plenty of time before Cheltenham, where the RSA is the target.
He could meet Jessies Dream there again and I heard that Gordon Elliot felt the best horse finished second on Sunday. He might think so -- I guess we'll find out next time!
We completed a fair weekend's work when Rare Bob led from start to finish in the Leopardstown Chase. He's a horse we've always given the benefit of the doubt to because he is not that robust, but it looks as though he was really acting the maggot.
With first-time blinkers on, he didn't see another horse on Sunday. It just goes to show how little he had been doing for us.
When I got home, I went straight to bed and spent Monday in there too. With little doing on a Monday, I was able to take the day off but I've had to struggle on since.
On Tuesday, we schooled a lot of the young horses. Schooling is a vital part of a horse's education as it teaches them where to put their feet. Those youngsters haven't worked yet but, to gallop properly, they need to know how to use themselves.
We did work a bunch then on Wednesday, including this weekend's runners. They all seemed in good shape. I'm looking forward to running Western Charmer in the Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase at Naas tomorrow.
I took him out of Magnanimity's race last weekend because he wasn't 100pc sound, but he has come right since. He was a good third in a Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas and tomorrow's conditions will suit him.
Dun Masc, Curling and Vic Venturi will probably go to Naas too, though Vic Venturi is really only in the Limestone Lad Hurdle in preparation for next month's Hennessey Gold Cup. Tomorrow's race looks a hell of a contest, so it should really sharpen him up.
I've also got a pretty nice horse in the bumper. Rockofinspiration was fifth for Paddy Kennedy at Fairyhouse last time, and Paddy feels that he wants a bit further than two miles. It's two miles and three furlongs tomorrow, so that will give him a chance.
Hopefully one or two of them might give us a result -- I could do with any tonic that's going. This blasted flu just won't shift.
For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie