It’ll Be Hard To Replace The Star That Was Many Clouds

Petit Mouchoir went a right gallop and jumped very well on tacky ground to win the Irish Champion Hurdle on Sunday.

Irish Champion Hurdle
Nichols Canyon definitely looked dangerous, staying on into second before falling at the last, but he never looked like beating what is clearly a good, tough horse.

The key to Petit Mouchoir’s success is that he goes a right gallop and gets horses out of their comfort zones. It was another good performance, though a shame to see Nichols Canyon come down where he did.

I think there was talk about stepping him up in trip before and I’d say at this point; nothing ventured, nothing gained.
He could make up into a high-class three-miler. It’s worth trying as he’s already a dual Grade 1 winner over 2m4f at Aintree and Punchestown.

Ivanovich Gorbatov
We ran Ivanovich Gorbatov in the race and he never really got into it. Maybe the ground was a bit tacky, but he was struggling at halfway, so it’s back to the drawing board with him. After he was third to Petit Mouchoir at Christmas – he ran up to his mark, possibly better, that day. I thought this was the route for him but I’m not so sure now.

I suppose the County Hurdle is an option, though he was rated 150 on Sunday and would obviously be high in the weights for that. He could go up in trip again too and he could just be left in the Champion Hurdle; I don’t know. We’ll see how he comes out of it. We have plenty of time before any decision has to be made.

Free Fall

Katnap Success
Despite Ivanovich Gorbatov disappointing at Leopardstown, we had a good day there with Katnap winning the handicap chase and Le Richebourg finishing second in the bumper to a pretty good horse in Debuchet.

That winner quickened up very well off a good gallop that he set himself. He’s obviously one to watch, though our lad ran very well too. When Debuchet was second on his racecourse debut at Naas a couple of weeks ago, Le Richebourg was just behind in third and he’s run up to that form again. He’s a real stayer for the future and we’re happy with the way he’s going.

Katnap’s win in the 2m5f handicap chase was great. It was his second race for us, having made a bad mistake at the second fence on his first run. That was in an identical race at Leopardstown back at Christmas and unfortunately he was put out of the race by that mistake.

But he’s come back and won nicely and is entitled at a crack at a good handicap chase now.

I don’t know if he needs to go up in trip – he’s a good traveller and jumper. He won off 122 on Sunday, so you’d imagine he’ll be up to around 130 after that and he might sneak into a good one off that mark. We’ve nothing in mind at the moment, we’ll see how he is next week.

The big talking point at Cheltenham, and the performance of the meeting, was the two horses in the Cotswold Chase, Many Clouds and Thistlecrack.

After getting beaten up the hill like that, you would have to question Thistlecrack’s stamina a little bit, but he could always be ridden a little bit more patiently. You never know how that might suit him, and it might improve him. He still ran a huge race in defeat, and even on that run you’d imagine he’ll be hard to beat in the Gold Cup.

It was very sad to see the winner Many Clouds pass away at the end of the race. It was an amazing performance from him to beat Thistlecrack. He was a great horse, loved racing and jumping.

He was a star for Oliver Sherwood and Trevor Hemmings over the years and it’ll be hard to replace him.

I suppose like Oliver Sherwood says, you have to remember him for the good days they had with him.

Going back to the Gold Cup, it’s not long until the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. That comes up in two weeks’ time and the best of the Irish horses for the Gold Cup will be running. We’ll have a clearer picture about them after that.

That weekend, we also hope to have what we think is our top four-year-old Landofhopeandglory out. He’s pencilled in for the Juvenile Grade 1 and there’s a good chance he’ll go.