Woodland Opera Will Give Death Duty A Test At Punchestown

It’s a very exciting time of year for any jockey or trainer with the season about to get into full flow.

Rearing To Go
I always see this week’s Punchestown meeting as the start of the National Hunt season proper and the racing over the next couple of days will tell you that as there’s some very competitive action and some great horses out there.

As a jockey you’ll get stronger as the season goes on but we’re already in fit condition as there’s been plenty of bookings over the summer and you’re always kept on the go.

Air Miles
New arrangements mean there may be a bit of travelling for me this season. I’ll still be riding Mr Potts’ horses in Ireland but hopefully I’ll also be over in England a bit working for Colin Tizzard as he’s asked me to ride a few of his horses. If it suits, keeping in mind my commitment to Jessica Harrington, hopefully I’ll be doing well for Colin over the water too.

One of the bigger races in the coming days is the Grade 3 on Thursday and I’ll be riding Woodland Opera.

He won a very competitive handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival earlier in the year and he’s got loads of experience.

On top of that he’s in great form and has been working really well at home.

He’s still a novice until the end of November so hopefully we can take advantage of that.

Death Duty is in the race on Thursday so it’ll not be easy. If experience was to count for anything Death Duty has only one ran once over fences whereas Woodland Opera has had six or seven. He fell last time out but he’s had plenty of schooling at home since and if he can use his experience to his advantage he has what it takes to give Death Duty a tough test.

All being well Our Duke will go to Down Royal in three weeks. His work has been stepping up a bit over the last few weeks and he’s bang where we want him now. Hopefully everything goes well between now and then.

Best Chance
At Punchestown on Wednesday my best chance will probably be on A Sizing Network in the handicap chase (4.45). He won very well at Clonmel the last time and has a lot of weight on his back as a result which won’t make life easy for him, but…

hopefully he’s up to winning a race of this standard even with some big names back.

Punchestown will suit him well and having walked it, the track is in fantastic condition and we won’t be using that as an excuse come close of play.