IT’S been a brilliant week so far and we’re hoping it continues today.
I was standing watching Albigna yesterday thinking that she was going to finish last from over a furlong out, and then she just got going and ended up winning comfortably in the end. It’s funny, when you supplement, you can either look like a genius or an idiot, and I was thinking it was going to be more the latter halfway through yesterday’s race!
I have to thank the Niarchos family for allowing me to supplement and thankfully it has worked out. She is a filly that always did things easily at home and there is lots to look forward to with her now. I’d imagine, the way she won there, that’ll be the last time we’ll run her over six furlongs. Races like the Debutante Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes will be on the table now and there is lots to look forward to.
It’s touch and go if you asked me for a highlight of the week as we were just as delighted with Trethias at Naas on Wednesday, when she delivered the type of performance we always thought she was capable of, winning the Naas Oaks Trial. We’ve always liked her and thought she could be a filly for a classic this season but things didn’t go to plan when we started her off at Navan. That was the race Pink Dogwood won, and she just got blocked off every direction she went. I then ran her in one of the Guineas trials at Leopardstown but that might have been a mistake, running her back over a mile, and it turned out that it was just too sharp for her.
We then earmarked this race six weeks out and decided to train her for it especially and I was delighted with her. There is only one Oaks and we have to go for it after a performance like that.
I think she’ll be okay over the extra two furlongs. I know she is by Invincible Spirit but there is stamina on the dam’s side (Evita, half-sister to Dar Re Mi and Rewilding).
We kicked off the Irish Derby Festival with a winner and I was absolutely delighted with Windracer’s performance in what was probably a very good fillies’ maiden. She came clear with Aidan O’Brien’s filly Love and we can think about bigger targets with her now.
I think her barrier trial run helped her a lot. She learned a lot at Naas that day and it was lucky that they got very nice ground on that occassion – I wouldn’t have been as keen to run her in that trial on firm ground. It was nice to have some of the owners from Stonestreet over and also Ben McElroy, who was involved in the purchase of this filly. Ben was involved with Laughing Lashes and Pathfork, who we had plenty of success with, nearly 10 years ago now.
We were also delighted to have a winner, Leo De Fury, for Mr Zhang Yuesheng, on Thursday as well. We haven’t had him that long but he is a lovely horse and we were impressed with him at home but you don’t really believe it until you see it on the track. It’s great to have a first-time out winner, and to do it like he did is exciting – he should improve again and there is lots to look forward to with him.
Jungle Cove was another I was really pleased with yesterday, we’d be hopeful he can get a win soon, and earlier in the week, Xcite won very nicely at Ballinrobe. She had shown a good level before that and we’d be hoping she can make into a stakes filly now.
It’s a huge team performance at home and it is always a good atmosphere in the yard when things are going well. Also, Shane (Foley) is riding really well. Shane has been riding for me for a while but this season is the first season I’ve had first call on him and we’ve been delighted with the way it has gone so far. We get on very well and it’s as simple as this: he’s like riding winners and I like training them, it’s the ideal situation really!
IT would be absolutely wonderful to see Kevin Prendergast win today’s Irish Derby. I think Madhmoon has every chance of turning the tables on Anthony Van Dyck as there really isn’t much between them on the Epsom form.
It looks competitive between the top three again, and you have Dermot Weld’s colt in there as well. People might be saying it’s a bad race because there are no British or French-trained runners there but we basically have all the best Derby horses here in Ireland as all the main Epsom principals are turning up here.
WE start off today with two runners in the Listed Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Dash Stakes (2:20), Klute and Flash Gordon. They’re both three-year-olds taking on good older horses so they’ll need to step up but I’m hoping they can do, they haven’t had much racing so can improve. Pincheck developed into a really good horse for us last season and he’s ready to start off in the Dubai Duty Free Finest Celebration Stakes (2:55). He might just need this run. Marshall Jennings is a grand old horse and he takes on Dubai Duty Free The Irish Village Handicap at 4:05.
It really depends if he is in the mood but if he is, he should run well and he is a big horse so can carry big weights. We finish the weekend with Echo Park in the Dubai Duty Free Jumeirah Creekside Irish EBF Handicap (6:25). He is taking a big step up in trip but we think it’s worth a go with him.