Joseph O’Brien: Thistlecrack Too Short For Gold Cup

It was another busy weekend on the track and Slowmotion ran a great race on Saturday at Naas in the Fishery Lane Hurdle.

It was her first start of the year so it was nice to get her under way and it was good start too. We’ll discuss things during the week about what to do next with her and hopefully she has a good season.

Weekend Action
Another of my hopes for the weekend Valgor Du Ronceray ran a great race to finish second to Willie Mullins’ Saturnas at Naas and Willie’s horse was very impressive. He travelled so well and looks like an exciting prospect for the season ahead. As for mine…

…I think Wednesday’s action will come a bit too soon to send him out again even though he came out of the race well.

He’s been off the track for a couple of years so we’re happy to give him a little more time.

Eye Catchers
Another eye-catcher over the weekend was Anibale Fly who jumped well while winning in the JP McManus colours at Navan. He was a good hurdler and won nice and snug on Sunday, it looks like he could make a good chaser too.

JP has some great horses to go to war with, one being Landofhopeandglory who led home a one-two for me at Fairyhouse last weekend. Both he and Big Ben seem to have come out of the race well and we may see one of them back in action at Punchestown at the weekend. I’d like to think that Big Ben is a future winner, he jumped well in his first run over hurdles so hopefully he can make the step up.

I watched some of the Cheltenham action at the weekend.

Thistlecrack was impressive; he was some hurdler and now it really looks like he could be anything.

He looks as though he’s taking to the fences very well. It’s a huge step up into the company he’ll be facing in the likes of the Gold Cup so I couldn’t say he justifies such a short price right now, but that’s happens with the best horses.

Passing Greats
Speaking of the best horses, we’ve lost a couple recently and I must send my sympathies to connections of Vautour and Simonsig. Neither horse deserved such a fate and horses like that are very hard to replace no matter what others you have at the yard.

Sprinter Sacre is another we won’t see much of again having been retired but he was a great horse and at least was able to go out on a high.

Looking Ahead
The Morgiana Hurdle lies in wait this Sunday at Punchestown and I don’t know if Ivanovich Gorbatov will come back out yet or not. We will take a look at the opposition and the ground and make a decision later in the week.

I’ll have a couple of horses running at Dundalk this Friday. Walk The Line is one who could be future winner after finishing third in his first run in a handicap and he’ll be back in again this Friday. It may be a bit more difficult for him this time round as he’s taking on older horses but there’s no reason why he won’t be competitive and I’ll be hoping he’ll be placed.