Saoirse Dun us proud
One length from career win left me deflated
THE PAST week was all about Saoirse Dun and his bid for the Irish Grand National.
As you can imagine we were all thrilled after declarations on Friday morning when it was finally confirmed that Saoirse Dun would indeed get the opportunity to run.
Although I was delighted, it was somewhat short lived as the lovely sunshine had me facing another dilemma; drying ground.
I was really quiet worried by Saturday with the ground being given as “good to yielding” and not a drop of rain in sight.
There was rain forecast for Sunday but at that stage I was doubtful that I could take the chance to run such a big heavy topped horse on good ground.
Fairyhouse racecourse to their credit was doing everything possible to make sure that the ground was safe and continued to water the track.
Sunday was a dreary day and rain finally arrived late evening. It was reported that there was to be 8mm of rain and so there was to be no watering of the track.
Unfortunately there was only 4mm of rain which was less than the 5mm that would have been put out on the course had rain not been forecast.
I was still in two minds on Monday morning with the ground remaining as “good to yielding”. Ultimately after quite a bit of correspondence between Saoirse Dun's owners and myself, a joint decision was made to run in the National.
Saoirse Dun didn't disappoint any of us on Monday evening and I found myself getting very excited as I could see how well he was travelling and jumping throughout the race.
Andrew was giving him a lovely ride staying well out of trouble. As the three horses approached the last fence I really thought we would get to the front, although it definitely looked like the line came a little too early for us, finishing third in the Irish Grand National was far from a disappointing performance.
In some ways to be just one length from what would have been a career win left me feeling a bit deflated when the dust settled. I'm very lucky to have a horse of Saoirse Dun's calibre in the yard and there is always next year to look forward to. For now Saoirse Dun is off to the field for a welldeserved break.
I will be having an evening out for all of our staff members over the coming weeks. Their hard work over the last few months' has definitely paid off and a huge amount of credit must be given to everyone involved. I am grateful to be able to arrive up to the yard on a daily basis to be greeted by people who not only genuinely enjoy what they do but are happy to be part of something bigger than just one individual and it's called a “team”. Well done lads.
I will be driving the lorry myself to Ballinrobe on Tuesday and with five horses to run I'm hoping that the four hour journey won't be in vein. It's an evening meeting so an early start is required and with our last runner in the bumper at 8.05pm it will be a case of leaving home on Tuesday and returning into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
I have Notimetoserve entered in the Sean Hughes Memorial H'cap S'chase in Kilbeggan on Friday evening and hopefully he can follow up on his win in Tramore. He has continued to work well at home and his last few races have definitely benefited him. All Honours is also entered but would prefer the ground on the yielding side of good, which is still a possibility at this stage.
I will also have some runners in Limerick on Sunday, Udo's Choice being one of these. His run to finish second in Tramore was very encouraging and there is nothing to say he can't go one place better this week.
If the ground conditions were to change dramatically over the week I would run Popa Flora in the Handicap Chase but he does require at least soft ground and doesn't handle anything better.
I also have a horse called Frankie Ballou entered for Limerick on Sunday but I am considering keeping him to run in Punchestown next week. I really like this young horse and am looking forward to him for the future. This is a horse I'd recommend following over the course of the Summer.
It's hard to believe that Punchestown is just around the corner, it seems winter racing is all but finished.
I have a nice bunch of horses lined up for the week of Punchestown and I'm looking forward to another week of top class racing where I'm sure some stars will shine through.
Shutthefrontdoor, centre, with Barry Geraghty on board, races clear of eventual third, Saoirse Dun, right, with Andrew Ring on board.