MY BIG NA­TIONAL TIP

Pineau De Re has plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence to win

Bray People - - SPORT -

IT'S BEEN a quiet week here at Fair­wood Sta­bles where run­ners are con­cerned but not to worry, the horses are in great form.

I ran a lot of horses over a four week pe­riod and it's just not pos­si­ble to con­tinue on that trend as the older horses need breaks in be­tween races and a chance to re­cover.

I have a huge vol­ume of young horses this year and it takes time for them to de­velop, most of these horses will make their first ap­pear­ances over the com­ing months.

I have a nice string of good ground horses and al­though ev­ery year I ex­pect to slacken off for the sum­mer months, I al­ways seem to have con­sis­tency with the num­ber of horses in the yard through­out the year.

I may not have had any re­sults with no run­ners this week but I did have a re­sult in the sport horse world as Ni­amh fin­ished sec­ond on our event horse, Green­hall Derry River, at the com­bined train­ing in Bar­nad­own.

This is one of the sport horses that re­sides here in the yard and he is pretty spe­cial to us. Derry had a great year last year when fin­ish­ing fourth in the Fu­ture Event Horse league at the RDS as well as nu­mer­ous other re­sults. I am re­ally dis­ap­pointed to hear that this is to be the fi­nal year of the league af­ter 15 suc­cess­ful starts.

The FEHL has run as an in­de­pen­dent show to the af­fil­i­ated bod­ies for its du­ra­tion. Last year was my first ex­pe­ri­ence with the class and I re­ally en­joyed the event al­though it has re­ceived crit­i­cism in re­la­tion to the de­gree of dif­fi­culty that is asked of these young event horses.

I per­son­ally think that there are some horses that are suited to tak­ing up the chal­lenge and it is up to the rid­ers to de­cide if their par­tic­u­lar horse has both the abil­ity and the at­ti­tude to com­pete early on. I didn't find any neg­a­tives and found that my horse ben­e­fited from the ex­pe­ri­ence. It will be a shame if the class is not con­tin­ued.

I have had an in­ter­est in event­ing from a young age and com­peted on ponies, and later on, a horse that was also to be one of my first run­ners on the track as a race horse trainer, a real char­ac­ter called Slaney Sauce.

He was a great horse to be­gin with and my first run with him was in Punchestown in the banks race where he fin­ished third to Risk Of Thun­der. I think this was where my love of the banks rac­ing be­gan.

Later on that year I had a sur­prise win­ner with Lit­tle Len at 50/1, who was the first horse to beat the Enda Bol­ger trained geld­ing over the banks course in Punchestown. I think I will al­ways have a love for banks rac­ing and, al­though I don't ride out any­more, I still en­joy event­ing and am lucky enough that I still get to en­joy the sport.

This weekend sees the run­ning of the Crab­bies Grand Na­tional in Ain­tree. There are cur­rently 75 en­tries in the race al­though only 40 horses will get to run on the day.

My fancy to win the Grand Na­tional is Pineau De Re at 20/1. This 11-year-old geld­ing has lots of ex­pe­ri­ence and will get the 4m 4f around Ain­tree.

He won the Ul­ster Na­tional last year in Down­patrick over 3m 4f and has had very few blun­ders over the big­ger ob­sta­cles. Tidal Bay is an­other con­tender and has the class to be in the shake-up. My only con­cern is that he car­ries top weight and this may be a bur­den when you con­sider the dis­tance.

An­other Ir­ish horse that takes my fancy is Roi Du Mee and has to be worth con­sid­er­a­tion as an each way con­tender, he is cur­rently priced at 66/1.

The height of the Grand Na­tional fences has been di­min­ish­ing over the past num­ber of years and this has brought about some spec­u­la­tion.

The Na­tional course was al­ways sup­posed to be about the big­ger jump­ing horse but a lot of jock­eys feel that the fences are now smaller and softer which al­lows them to go much faster with horses that may or may not have the abil­ity to jump a big­ger fence. The ques­tion re­mains is it safer to have a stead­ier pace with a horse that is ca­pa­ble of jump­ing a big­ger ob­sta­cle or do you take your chances with a faster pace over smaller fences and pos­si­bly horses that don't jump as well?

Decade Player runs this weekend in Fairy­house in The 5 Star Sun­day Novice Hand­i­cap Steeple­chase (Grade B) for €50,000. He is just six-years-old and has al­ready won three races and has been placed on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions.

I strongly be­lieve this is a great horse to fol­low. I will also have two run­ners at Tal­lanstown Point to Point and am hope­ful that both will have great chances.

Pineau De Re is my tip to win the Grand Na­tional in Ain­tree this weekend. He’s at 20/1 and with lots of ex­pe­ri­ence he wil get the 4m 4f around the course.

Ni­amh Roth­well aboard Green­hall Derry River.

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