BoyleSports Irish Grand National May Decide Trainers’ Championship

We had a quiet weekend with Imperial Way, our sole runner at Leopardstown.

Imperial Way
I was satisfied with his run. He’s a nice staying prospect for the future and just didn’t have the gears to go with Bakmaj in the closing stages. I was very impressed with the winner and he built on the promise of his debut run. I think we’ll aim for another bumper with Imperial Way. He’s had a run over hurdles but at this stage of the season we’ll keep his novice status intact.

Gowran Park
Looking ahead to this week, we’ve two entered in the winners’ bumper at Gowran Park on Thursday. Aeglos surprised me with how easy he won at Leopardstown, while West Coast Time showed a good turn of foot to win at Cork.

It’s 50/50 that either will run. We’ll see what way the ground is closer the time. They are describing it today as yielding to soft with mild, dry weather forecast for the coming days.

I was at Leopardstown yesterday so had a watching brief on the featured races. Jack Kennedy continues to impress and for a 17-year-old, riding less than two years, to have achieved what he has, is outstanding.

I thought he was brilliant on A Toi Phil. The horse at no point looked likely to win the race but somehow he managed to drop him on the line. He won’t get much of a hike from the handicapper so Gordon Elliott has plenty of options going forward with him.

Gordon’s record in these handicap chases this season is phenomenal.

He’s won all the big prizes since mid-summer in Galway. These are ensuring he’s maintaining a healthy advantage on Willie Mullins as the battle for the Trainers’ Championship continues.

Willie will probably sweep the boards at Punchestown but races like the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, remember it’s worth €500,000 this year, will be on Gordon’s radar and it could be the key race in deciding the championship. Again it’s a valuable handicap chase and Gordon seems to have a number of horses who fit the bill for such races.

I watched bits of Haydock on Saturday. The New One looked very tough in grinding out a win in the Champion Hurdle trial. I heard Sam Twiston-Davies interviewed afterwards and he seems keen to try him over three miles but it seems Nigel Twiston-Davies thinks differently. I’m sure the right decision will be made on the day. He’s a horse that’s never got the credit he deserves but he’s been a great servant to connections.