Cyrname The Weekend Stand-Out As Cheltenham Picture Becomes Clearer
I’d a good weekend – with a nice winner in Sandown on Friday and a Grade 2 winner at Ascot on Saturday with Mister Malarky.
Reserve Tank at Sandown on Friday was very impressive – he’s going to make a good chaser next season. I think he qualifies for the Handicap Hurdle in Sandown towards the end of the season, so that’s his Spring target.
Mister Malarky was very good in the Grade 2 3 mile chase in Ascot on Saturday. He’s only a six-year-old and stays well and, ground-dependent, he’s probably a horse that’ll go to the 4-miler National Hunt Chase in Cheltenham.
Paul Nicholls 8-Timer
Clan Des Obeaux was very impressive on Saturday. He didn’t do anything more than I expected him to do. He beat Terrefort and beat him comfortably. He settled very well, he jumped super and he won impressively.
He was under the radar a little bit, in my opinion, for the Gold Cup.
I think Cyrname was, without doubt, the stand-out show for the whole weekend.
He was unbelievably impressive and rode a very, very good race. When you put the performance into context he beat Waiting Patiently, Fox Norton and Politologue – three very, very good horses and he beat them by 17 lengths. It was a really, really good performance.
I think Al Dancer should be favourite for the Supreme on the back of his win at the weekend. That experience for him, running in a big handicap like that, will stand him in good stead for Cheltenham. The only slight worry for me would be he raced a little bit keenly on Saturday – he’ll want to relax a bit better in Cheltenham and that’d be the only concern. He looks a very exciting horse.
Navan On Sunday
It was a very, very good performance from Tiger Roll. Take nothing away from him but it probably wasn’t the strongest of races but he couldn’t have been any more impressive.
He was the winner a long way out and the way he travelled throughout the race was really eye-catching. He’ll head now to the Cross Country race in Cheltenham and, bar an accident, he’ll take some beating in that. I’ll imagine after that it’ll be all roads back to Aintree.
Chris’s Dream was very impressive for his win in Navan. He settled very well. It was obviously disappointing for me that I couldn’t ride him as I’d to ride Moonshine Bay. It was a good performance and he’ll probably go on now to the RSA. The fact he settled so well will give him every chance in Cheltenham.
Gowran Park On Saturday
Where does Monalee go now? It’ll be up to connections. Is he a Ryanair horse or a Gold Cup horse? I think he has more chance in the Gold Cup than the Ryanair. I would imagine the Gold Cup is the road he’ll go. It was a good performance but you would have expected him to beat Anibale Fly over two and a half miles.
It was a very good performance from Darasso as well at Gowran Park, dropping back a mile in trip and only his second start in Ireland. I’m not sure where he’ll go now as I don’t think he’s a Champion Hurdle horse. Connections said after the race that he’ll go wherever the soft ground is so I’d imagine ground is fairly key to him. If the Spring festivals turn up soft he could be a big player.
Clonmel On Thursday
Allaho was very impressive. It was a big call from Willie Mullins to throw him straight into a Grade 3. He’s obviously shown the right signs at home. I’d imagine the Albert Bartlett is the number one target for him at the Cheltenham Festival.
The picture is a little bit clearer now.
Clan Des Obeaux is now a huge player in the Gold Cup.
Presenting Percy didn’t run at the weekend and is probably going to the Gold Cup now on the back of just one run over hurdles. Is that a worry? It would be. I’m sure Pat Kelly knows what he’s doing though and is confident of going there on the back of that run.
There was plenty of pointers over the weekend – Al Dancer for the Supreme Novices and Allaho for the Albert Bartlett. Wherever Monalee goes, probably the Gold Cup, he will be a big player. There’s still plenty of water to cross before we get there.
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