Leopardstown Excitement Building In Yard

What a weekend at Punchestown. I was very pleased with Landofhopeandglory in the first race on Saturday.

He’s now two from two over hurdles and came out of the race well. He jumped fairly well. Frank Berry and JP McManus are all delighted too obviously. There’s a chance he might go to Fairyhouse in a couple of weeks. I’m not 100% sure of that yet but I’m thinking the target is the Winter Festival at Fairyhouse and then maybe Leopardstown after that.

It will be decided closer to the end of this week or early next week. You have to remember that he’s had two relatively easy races so I have to keep that in mind. It will be a case of taking on the better opposition and seeing where I stand then.

Ivanovich Gorbatov
On Sunday, due to the fog it was very hard at times to see Ivanovich Gorbatov’s run where he finished third but Davy was very happy with him and he said he finished out the race well. He reckons that he has come on a bit too so we’re delighted with that.
The Hattons Grace is an option for him next and then Leopardstown at Christmas too.

We’ll see how he is during the week and go from there.

It can be hard for Triumph Hurdle winners to do well in the top Grade 1 races so it’s hard to know if he’ll just be a top Grade 2 horse in time.

Racing wise he has a huge gap to fill, probably a stone or a bit less. As the year progresses, we will find out where he slots in best.

Leopardstown & Coneygree
I thought Coneygree ran a blinder at Haydock after such a long layoff. Cue Card was very good also. They’re two nice horses. Apparently Coneygree might head to Leopardstown which would be very exciting. The track would really suit him. It would be excellent to have a horse of his standard coming over to Ireland to take on the Irish horses.

I thought Identity Thief ran well over the weekend, a nice start over fences. A Toi Phil was also very good as was Yanworth at Ascot. It’s such an exciting time of year with some top class horses in action.

I’m really looking forward to Leopardstown. It’s great racing and is a horse’s first real test of the winter. A lot of horses turn up there with the dream still alive.

On Tuesday, Along The Shore runs in the Maiden Hurdle at Wexford, her first run over hurdles after finishing second at Gowran Park in October. She stays well and jumps particularly well. I hope she runs a nice race but it does look competitive. She’s schooled over fences and we’ll learn plenty tomorrow. A first cousin of mine, JJ Slevin, is booked for the ride and is in great form at the moment. He’s a great rider and has a lot of experience.

Madeleine Tylicki
On a parting note, I was absolutely thrilled for Madeleine Tylicki yesterday on her first win as a trainer with First To Boogie at Punchestown. Myself and Madeleine did the trainers course together. She’s a great girl and hopefully that’s the first of many wins for her.