What a good day’s racing it was at Leopardstown yesterday, with four consecutive Grade One’s it was always going to be a spectacle. Irish racing is often dominated by a handful of powerful connections but yesterday’s big races were won by four different owners, trainers and jockeys which is great for racing!
As for me, I was delighted to ride in all four Grade One races. No winners but I thought Don Poli ran cracker in the Gold Cup. He likes a tow into a race but even sitting upsides Road To Riches the leader couldn’t go fast enough for us and Sizing John had more pace than us up the straight. He could go straight for the Cheltenham Gold Cup now and there’s no doubt he’llget a good lead there! I think the stiffer test in March will suit him well too. You would have to say that the Gold Cup looks wide open from an Irish perspective. The likely candidates are all beating each other in the Grade Ones over here, it will be fascinating to see who lines up in just over a month.
Looking away from my rides, I thought Disko was very impressive in the novice chase. Entering the back straight at Leopardstown is where the tempo usually starts to crank up. Going down the back I had a good view of DIsko as he took off from outside the wings at one and still gave the fence a foot of air. I think he’s a serious horse, I certainly wouldn’t mind throwing my leg over him one day!
Another Novice that you just can’t help but be impressed by is Altior, he was spectacular at Newbury! Running in a competitive Grade Two as a novice, I couldn’t believe how fresh he jumped the last and hit the line running too.
We have seen some great racing this weekend but Mondays are often an anti-climax for jockeys in Ireland. January and February are usually the quietest months and this week there are only three national hunt meetings in Ireland. Our lives pretty different to the lads riding in the UK who have about fifteen meetings in the next seven days. I would love to be race riding everyday but it’s not the case and I go swimming with my cousin Danny (Mullins) most evenings as a good way to keep fit. My father Thomas is a trainer so it’s best to keep busy at this time of year as he always has a job for me if he thinks I’ve got a bit of spare time!
One thing that will keep a lot of my weighing room colleagues busy this week is Valentines day tomorrow. I think some of the lads fancy themselves as romantics but it won’t be a special evening for me. I am hoping for a date with a few like Monalee in March though!