Annamix is a bit of a talking horse who’s been favourite for the Sky Bet Supreme at Cheltenham for nearly two years now. He’s still yet to run for us having run once over hurdles in France after which we bought him.
He’s a lovely, striking, grey gelding with a long stride but he’s got to go and do it on the track. I do think his price is based on hype but for a while there didn’t look an obvious contender in the two mile novice hurdle division, although Angels Breath was impressive at Ascot on Friday. There’s Brewin’upastorm too, who’s bumper form is good ad he made an eyecatching debut at Huntingdon.
Hopefully we’ll get him out over Christmas in a maiden hurdle, probably on the December 28, and if things go according to plan he might turn up in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer at Punchestown. Fingers crossed we get him to the track as we do think he has a fair amount of ability.
We are probably going to have a lot of runners in maiden hurdles over the next few weeks as the weather in Ireland has meant everything has just been held up a little. Here are a few more to keep an eye on…
Elite Charboniere we picked up from Patrice Quinton in France who is the cross-country expert. He won the second of two Flat races and we bought him at the Cheltenham Festival Sale in March. He’s still showing a bit of greenness but seems to be a fine galloper with a good engine and will probably go to Leopardstown over Christmas.
Eleonore D’apsis came from the Auteuil sale in May. She won a two mile Flat race in April and seems to have a little bit of boot about her and is one we’re looking forward to getting going.
A horse who was beaten in a maiden hurdle last Christmas is Francin, who we haven’t had a straight run with. The race he ran in last season has worked out really well though and hopefully he’ll be back in three or four weeks.
Two horses to have won their maiden hurdles are Karl Der Grosse and Eclat Des Mottes and we’ll just tip away with them and find suitable races.
Salsaretta is probably not one for the Sky Bet Supreme or the two mile division, she might want intermediate trips, and will run at Limerick on December 26. She ran in some top races last season and we deliberately retained her novice status for this campaign. We’re looking forward to a good year with her all things being equal.
We’ve a few horses that will have bumper campaigns this year and one who seems more forward than most is Elbarra who we bought from Robert Tyner. He was second in a point-to-point back in May. He has plenty of personality about him and a good engine. There’s a good chance he’ll run at Leopardstown on the 26th.
Monkfish is from the same cross as Champagne Fever – being by Stowaway out of an Old Vic mare. Hopefully he’ll be on the track in late January or early February.
A horse we had last year was Aione and he’ll be coming back in full training in the next few weeks and could be one for the spring.
We’ve a couple of juvenile hurdlers this season. Jon Snow will be out some time in January and is rated 85 on the Flat. He’s a fine-looking horse and his form in France has worked out very well.
Tiger Tap Tap has a wonderful big white face and a higher rating from the level than Jon Snow although he was a little more exposed than him too. They both go well and as with all our juveniles we don’t tend to rush them, but we’re looking forward to getting them started.
Ruby Walsh and Faugheen return after their Punchestown defeat
Of the established stars the plan is to run Faugheen in the Grade One over three miles at Leopardstown. I was quite happy with his run in the Morgiana and just don’t think he has the boot for the minimum trip any more.
He’s at the latter stages of his career now and has been a wonderful horse for Rich and Susannah. It would be great to see him maintain a good level of form back at staying trips now and it seems likely he’ll face Apple’s Jade over Christmas.
Benie Des Dieux will probably start off over hurdles and be campaigned with the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in mind, a race she won last season. She twice beat Apple’s Jade last term although I know the Gigginstown team have reasons why their mare didn’t perform quite to their expectations then.
The Relkeel at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day is a possible starting point for our horse and we’re very much looking forward to getting her going again and hopefully maintaining her unbeaten record for us.
Sharjah has been a revelation. He was our main fancy for the Sky Bet Supreme last year but things didn’t work out for him in the middle of the winter when the heavy ground probably took a toll. He won the Galway Hurdle though and then stepped up on that to win the Morgiana. He’ll go to the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown probably and a clash with Samcro.
We’ve a good few novice chasers to get on with and Getabird will run in the Grade One Matchbook Exchange Novice Chase at Limerick on the 26th. It’s a step up in trip for him but he was travelling well over it when badly hampered at Punchestown last term. We’re very excited to see how he continues his progress over fences.
I was delighted with Min’s return at Punchestown where I thought Ruby Walsh gave him an excellent ride. His jumping is a real asset. He may or may not run over Christmas, his only entry at present is the two-miler at Leopardstown, and we may come back to that trip or stay at the intermediate distance. His form with Altior and Politologue looks rock solid.