Sizing John Now A Live Gold Cup Contender

We had a good weekend with doubles at Dundalk on Friday night and Naas on Saturday.

Weekend Runners
Tommy Welsh is steadily improving and found his level once handicapped. The handicapper has given him a 4lb rise bringing him up to a mark of 63. War Goddess received a 5lb rise bringing her rating to 71. The plan is to bring them both back to Dundalk on the 24th February.

I was very pleased with Outspoken at Naas. His jumping was much better than last time – the race developed into a sprint and wasn’t ideal but I couldn’t be happier with how he did it. We’ll sidestep Cheltenham and aim him at a listed race in Naas on the 12th March. We’ll see how he gets on there but the big spring festivals are likely longer term targets.

Slowmotion was given a superb ride by Mark Walsh to win the mares chase. He said he was always happy that he’d pick them up in front. She’s come out of the race well – there’s a good programme for mares during the spring so all of those races are options for her.

Leopardstown Review & Cheltenham Preview
I really enjoyed the racing at Leopardstown on Sunday. My own horses disappointed in the juvenile hurdle, although Bhutan didn’t run too badly on his first run over hurdles.

Sizing John is a live Cheltenham Gold Cup contender now

…Robert Power was very confident he’d get the three miles before the race. He was very strong to the line so I think connections will give the Gold Cup a shot. He’s still a young horse, and with more improvement possibly to come, I think he’s fully entitled to his place in the line-up.

I was encouraged to see Mega Fortune and Bapaume finish first and second in the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle. Landofhopeandglory’s form ties in with these and they’ll all be live Triumph Hurdle candidates in four weeks time. Front running tactics and the cheek pieces seemed to bring about further improvement from Mega Fortune…

I’ve no doubt the stiff finish at Cheltenham will play to his strengths.

I’ll finish this week’s blog by complimenting Patrick Mullins on his ride aboard Bacardys. I thought he executed a great patient ride – he didn’t force him and he played his cards as late as possible.

He seems a tough horse and would be an obvious type for the Albert Bartlett next month.