Noel The Perfect Man To Replace Me On Our Duke

Our Duke was very impressive as he got back to winning ways on Saturday where he had to give 7 lbs to a very good horse in Presenting Percy and he did it very well.

He made one bad mistake at the fourth-last but he didn’t actually lose that much ground and once I opened him up down the hill into the straight, he was very good over the last 3 fences and he won it in the end.

I don’t think he’s back to his best yet, but it was the best he’s felt since Fairyhouse last year..

..and I think he will improve. He hadn’t had a race for a while and it will sharpen him up for sure.

I’lll be riding on Sizing John on the Friday of the festival. It was always going to be a tough decision but it would have been extremely difficult to desert the reigning champion and I still believe it will take a very good horse to beat him.

Jessie couldn’t have got a better man than Noel Fehily to replace me on Our Duke..

..he’s a top class jockey but three weeks is a long time in the life of a racehorse. Hopefully both of them get there but I’ll be riding one of them anyway. There’s no decision yet on whether Our Duke will defend his crown in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, the focus is firmly on the Gold Cup for the moment so we will have to wait and see what happens.

Waiting Patiently
I was very impressed with Waiting Patiently at Ascot on Saturday and it was great to see Cue Card coming back with a good performance.

I think Waiting Patiently looks like he wants soft ground, I think he’ll go for the Ryanair Chase…

..and if does get soft ground, he’ll be a major player. It was an incredible run for a twelve-year old horse> He’s an iron horse, he’s been around for so long and I read his owners would like another crack at the Gold Cup and I’d expect him to fall short but at this stage in his career he’s got nothing to lose!

Forge Meadow
Forge Meadow had a cracking run in her win on Saturday, she has the heart of lion, she’s not the most straight-forward horse to ride but we changed the tactics she’s been much more settled in front. I thought when Identity Thief came for us at the second last we were in trouble but she put the head down and battled to the win.

She definitely won’t be going to Cheltenham…

…she went over last year and she wilted, she’s quite a hot mare and she didn’t eat or drink so Cheltenham has been ruled out. There’s some good prizes for mares at Fairyhouse and Punchestown so she’ll be sticking to those festivals.