Softer Ground Could Be The Key For STELLAR NOTION

Tomorrow is the first of seven days of racing at Listowel for the Harvest Festival, which always seems to draw in a good crowd from around the country and hopefully they’ll be treated to an excellent week of racing.

My first ride tomorrow is in the opening race, where I will be on MANIFEST DESTINY in the Kerry Group 3-Y-O Hurdle. He’s had three runs over five furlongs and after riding and schooling him at Henry De Bromhead’s, I can say that he’s fairly keen but is very fast and is good to jump. If he gets the 2 miles, I think he’s good enough to be a decent Juvenile Hurdler. He’s out of JEREMY too, who is the sire of OUR CONNOR and JER’S GIRL, and so this is a horse that could have a bright future ahead of him.

The Mares Handicap Hurdle is a low grade race where I’ll be riding FREE SCORPION. If I’m being honest, she is no superstar, but then again, I have ridden her at Michael Hourigan’s yard before and I think she definitely is up to winning a lower grade handicap at some point – whether or not that’s tomorrow though, I am not sure.

My final ride will be another Henry De Bromhead horse, STELLAR NOTION, who won at Listowel last year with Robbie Power on board. He ran at Killarney in July this year and did OK, but might have just needed the run. He’s a horse who has won on all kinds of ground, so as the ground at Listowel begins to get nice and soft I think he’ll enjoy that and if he can get back to his best then I think we should be bang there. He’s a good weight at 10-7, and DEVILS BRIDE, who is very much the best horse on ratings, carries 12-3, which I think is a lot of weight, and as the ground gets softer I think this will go against him.

In terms of the rest of the week, I’m not entirely sure what the plan is in terms of rides for me, but I would love the opportunity to ride SWAMP FOX. I’ve won a Maiden Hurdle with him at Thurles earlier this year, but he didn’t get a chance to run in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham, and after his win at Galway, I think he can be a real competitor this week.

Listowel will see both flat and jump racing across the course of the week, and although sometimes sharing races is not always ideal, it’s what people want to see, so it has to be done. It’s good to meet different people from the flat racing scene too, so sharing the changing rooms at these sorts of meetings is a bit different and gives you some variety.

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