After such a flurry of racing over Christmas, we have suddenly gone to long weeks with only racing at the weekend. Last weekend racing took place in Fairyhouse and Punchestown where I had rides on both days. Pat Shanahan’s Warp Factor, who I had been second on in Musselburgh in December ran well again last weekend when finishing fifth in a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse. That race was won by the Ellmarie Holden-trained Ex Patriot and hopefully Warp Factor will go close the next time out.
This weekend there is Irish racing in Navan and Leopardstown. There is plenty of prize money to be won with some top racing at Leopardstown on Sunday including the Grade A Coral.ie Leopardstown Handicap Steeplechase and the Grade B Coral.ie Hurdle. If I could choose to ride anything in the Coral Hurdle it would have to be Tony Martin’s Heartbreak City. He is a horse that brings great flat form and could have won a Melbourne Cup. It will be interesting to see how he fares out in this competitive handicap. Unfortunately, a few of the horse that I was meant to ride this weekend ended up not running so I am left without any rides. This is obviously not an ideal situation for any jockey, however, there is quite a bit more racing next week so hopefully things will pick up again.
We have had an extremely dry spell of weather lately and it has been perfect for Dad to be able to get the horses onto the grass gallop and to school over the fences on the grass. The schooling strip is great for teaching horses to jump as it has railing along it and the horses can only go in a straight line. Schooling over the fences in the field is the next step as horses are taken out of the familiar setting of the schooling strip and must cope with the open spaces of the field. This means that when the horses go to the racetrack they are more experienced and have previously jumped in a similar surrounding. For horses who need a bit more experience we often bring them to schooling races in Fairyhouse racecourse. These take place regularly and are great for bringing horses on and exposing them to a race situation.
Our Upcoming Runners
I am looking forward to having a few rides next week for Dad. Dad has two horses entered at Fairyhouse. Kilkeaskins First is in the two and a half mile handicap hurdle. He has won over this course and distance before and seems to be in good form at home. The ground is soft at the moment and this should suit him as long as there isn’t too much more rain. He also holds an entry in Gowran Park the following day over two miles so we will wait until next week to make a decision as to where he will go. Dinnie’s Vinnie is entered in the three mile handicap chase. He is another horse who has won over this course and distance before and hopefully he will put in a good run. Teacher’s Pet has been a great horse for us this season, winning four races since August, and she will have her first run over fences in a two mile beginner’s chase on Thyestes day at Gowran Park next Thursday.
Derrinross runs for Dad this Sunday in the bumper at Leopardstown. As mentioned in my previous blog, he won his only point to point start and is a horse we’re looking forward to this season. He had a promising run in his bumper debut at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day when finishing three parts of a length behind the Willie Mullins-trained Next Destination. Jamie Codd is in with us this weekend to school some of the point to pointers and he rides Derrinross again on Sunday where we hope he could go one better.
Social media abuse suffered by jockeys is something that has been talked about a lot in the media of late. It is certainly common among jockeys and something we have all experienced. Naturally I have experienced it in the past but I don’t mind it too much and just ignore it. I think that is the best way to deal with it and what most of the jockeys tend to do.