Henry de Bromhead confirmed that Bob Olinger is on target for the Turners’ Novices’ Chase, despite news that Galopin Des Champs could run in the same race at the Cheltenham Festival.
A Plus Tard
He seems in great form. We were delighted with his win in the Betfair Chase and while we were disappointed that he was beaten in the Savills Chase, he ran a great race in defeat.
He’s a proven stayer of the Gold Cup trip after running so well in it last year and everything about his preparation this season would encourage us that he’ll be able to run another very big race in it again this time around.
Turners’ Novices’ Chase
He took a bit more schooling over fences than ours usually need at first, but he’s improved and improved. On his chasing debut he jumped fine and on his second start over fences I thought he jumped really well.
We couldn’t be happier with him, and he seems in great form. I’d imagine the Turners Novices’ Chase is where he’ll run. I wouldn’t like to say that it’s certain he’ll run there just yet, but it’s highly likely and it’s just a case of us sitting down together and making that decision.
I don’t think ground is a huge issue for him either way. Sure, wouldn’t it be great for racing if he was to meet Galopin Des Champs and L’Homme Presse?
That’s what it’s all about, the best meeting the best and seeing which one comes out on top.
We have him in the Arkle and we’ll also give him an entry in the Grand Annual. We’ll see what rating he gets before we make a decision.
He’s a high-class horse and he got the job done nicely at Gowran Park last time. I think he’ll run a big race wherever he goes.
Champion Chase/Ryanair Chase
He’s entered in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase, and we haven’t sat down to make a final decision yet.
I suppose he was a bit workmanlike when winning at Leopardstown last time, but it was a Grade One, and we were delighted to win it. It had only come a few weeks after his run at Punchestown, but he went out and got the job done.
The Queen of Knockeen! To do what she has done already is just incredible and we are a bit lost for words for her at this stage.
It’s been brilliant to see the public take her and Rachael [Blackmore] into their hearts and really get behind them, as it’s no more than they both deserve. She’s an incredible horse and Rachael is an incredible person.
She seems to have come out of the Irish Champion Hurdle in really good form and she is where we want her to be. We are counting down the days with her.
Journey With Me
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
He has a somewhat similar profile to what Bob Olinger had this time last year, but they would be different types.
Bob Olinger always had a bit of a gear whereas Journey With Me is more of a galloper. He has plenty of ability and was impressive at Leopardstown. We had one aim with him at Naas which was to get him to settle.
He did that, but they went no gallop and Rachael let him stride on. He’ll be a lot better in a more truly-run race. We haven’t made a final decision yet, but the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle would look to be his likeliest target.
He lives beside A Plus Tard, so they spend a lot of their time eyeing each other up and trying to psyche each other out! He’s in great form and it was really good to see him run so well in the Irish Gold Cup.
I was annoyed with myself for running him at Kempton. I was trying to put a square peg in a round hole and trying to hammer it in with a sledgehammer!
Looking back on his Down Royal run, he could just as easily have been ridden with similar tactics at Kempton without the cheekpieces, but we tried to force it and it went wrong. We live and learn.
I don’t think we’ll be putting the cheekpieces back on him. This season has a similar feel to last year in that it feels like we are building up to another big run at Cheltenham.
I was never a big believer in the theory of a horse being a “spring horse”, but Indo is making me think that might be one of those.
Put The Kettle On
We were a little bit disappointed with her in the Shloer Chase on her comeback run, but the good ground probably meant that it wasn’t enough of a stamina test for her.
We tried her over a longer trip at Fairyhouse and that didn’t work out, so we’ve freshened her up and she’s in mighty form.
She loves Cheltenham and we are keen to let her defend her crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Champion Hurdle/County Hurdle
He’s entered in the Champion Hurdle, and he’ll get an entry in the County Hurdle.
I thought he got a bit bogged down in the ground at Gowran Park last weekend. We’ll make a decision on him a bit closer to the time.
We are very happy with her. She ran great at Leopardstown last time and she is where we’d like her to be in terms of her preparation.
We’ve had the Mares’ Hurdle in mind for her all season and that is where she’s being aimed.