Slip Of The Tongue – 4th in 2.50 Navan 27/11/22
Slip Of The Tongue is a handicap winner in the making. He jumped off at his own leisure giving Fil Dor and Saint Roi an easy 20 lengths lead and Gallant John Joe about 15. He jumped slickly (maybe slightly left handed at some) , travelled nicely and made up a load of ground coming around the final bend before finishing fourth, 6 ½ lengths behind Gallant John Joe. We’ll keep a close eye on him around Christmas as he will come on for that run and will be aimed for a handicap that connections feel is right. The biggest issue as a punter we have is figuring out which one as connections can be very patient.
Grangeclare West – 1st in 12.50 Navan 27/11/22
It’s not too often you will see me put up a horse that wins a race by 13 lengths in the eye catchers because everybody will have already sat up and taken notice but I was seriously impressed with Grangeclare West for Willie Mullins in the Maiden Hurdle. Navan is a stiff track and takes some getting (as we saw later in the card when American Mike was turned over after going slightly too quick with Affordable Fury) so the fact that Grangeclare West stayed on so well after the last was impressive. He was plenty free in the early stages and there was no market support for him so he could easily step forward again. He easily won his Irish point over 3 miles for Denis Murphy on soft ground. He looks a Ballymore horse or an Albert Bartlett, with the bookies making him 5/1 favourite for the latter. My hesitation with that at the moment is that he is a big horse that has only run on soft ground. I can’t wait to see him over a fence…
Will Do – 2nd in 2.40 Punchestown 20/11/22
Will Do split two very good horses when finishing second in a Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown. Monbeg Park was a talented Bumper horse and had race fitness from finishing a clear second behind Affordable Fury at Galway. Seabank Bistro was nine lengths fourth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. He was too free through the race and will definitely step forward next time out. Will Do was the one that outran his odds and although 6/1 wasn’t heavily supported before the off for the Gordon Elliott team. I don’t think he was ever going to win but he was staying on when flattening the final hurdle, the fact he could pick up again after that to close on the leader would suggest to me there is an engine there. He should go close next time out..
Birdie Blitz – 5th in 3.23 Punchestown 19/11/22
All eyes would have been on Jungle Prose in this when she romped home by nine lengths and is sure to go up a further 12lbs for her efforts. My eye was drawn about thirteen lengths back to the fifth. A JP McManus owned grey mare called Birdie Blitz. She was coming back after a short break, has form on both heavy ground to good/ Yielding. She was travelling just better than mid division, jumped well and stayed on nicely without getting a hard race. She could find a handicap soon that suits and run a nice race.
Complete Unknown – 5th in 2.25 Haydock 19/11/22
Complete Unknown took the eye in the valuable stayers handicap at Haydock. He was a little free and exuberant with his jumping in the early stages of the race but he travelled wide around the final bend still tanking. This was his first run for 213 days and is entitled to step forward for it. He likes soft ground and can be competitive in these big Saturday handicaps. Hopefully he will pick one up over the following months. At six years old there could be further improvement.
Three Card Brag – 3rd in 1.20 Navan 13/11/22
Three Card Brag finished third behind stablemate Imagine and winner Hercule De Seuil in the two mile Grade Three Novices Hurdle at Navan. The ground was yielding. From two hurdles out Three Card Brag got caught for toe behind the already mentioned. He might be lacking that kick of pace but he looked like stamina wouldn’t be an issue and he stayed on resolutely to the line. Navan is a stiff uphill finish and this guy has form on heavy ground. A step up in trip could be on the cards or another effort at two miles on soft ground would suit this horse.
Gin Coco – 2nd in 2.55 Cheltenham 13/11/22
Gin Coco ran an eye-catching second in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham. He was a horse I very nearly tipped up for the service and coming down the hill I was starting to feel sorry for myself. However I Like To Move It stayed on strongly to win impressively off top weight. Saying that Gin Coco in second was thirteen lengths clear of the third Harbour Lake. Gin Coco has solid form in the book and is a horse that is on the improve. Harry Fry is a shrewd trainer and will target a nice pot for him during the season.
Vina Ardanza – 2nd in 1.30 Naas 12/11/22
Vina Ardanza has been running in some smart races over two miles as a Novice, finishing third in the Grade One Novices hurdle at Aintree behind Jonbon and the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown behind Mighty Potter. He was then pitched into the highly competitive Galway Hurdle where he fell and looked a certain winner at Killarney before falling at the last in a Beginners Chase. He looks more than capable of winning a Beginners Chase and off a mark of 136 he should be competitive in Handicap Hurdles as well. The step up to two mile four furlongs wasn’t an issue here at Naas where he saw out his race strongly.
Weveallbeencaught – 3rd in 3.30 Cheltenham 11/11/22
Weveallbeencaught stayed on strongly after being outpaced by the impressive winner Hermes Allen and the consistent Music Drive. He couldn’t match the two already mentioned or the Willie Mullins trained Hubrisko who finished behind him in fourth at the second last flight when the trio kicked five or six lengths clear. However Weveallbeencaught did stay on as good as any and made up significant ground up the hill passing Hubrisko and making up probably five lengths on Music Drive to finish one and a half lengths behind him. He could be an Albert Bartlett type at the festival but is definitely a chaser in the making and could be an exciting one next season.
Enrillo – Fell in 1.50 Wincanton 05/11/22
Enrillo came back from a wind op at Wincanton in the Badger Beer Handicap Chase and was travelling strongly and jumping well before falling at the water jump of all jumps. It is probably one of the smallest fences on the course but I feel he just got unsighted in the lead up to the fence with Frodon directly in front of him. Off a mark of 143 he should be capable of winning one of these big handicaps very soon. Another factor was the fact that jockey Harry Cobden won the Grade Two Elite Hurdle on Knappers Hill two races later and still referred back to how well Enrillo felt before falling. A real indication of his disappointment two races earlier.
The Wallpark – 2nd in 1.23 Down Royal 05/11/22
The Wallpark impressed me in the Down Royal maiden hurdle. Trained by Vincent Ward and ridden by 7lb claimer Dillon Maxwell, two of the more unrecognisable names in Irish racing, The Wallpark travelled really well throughout this race and perhaps went for home a tad too soon before eventually finishing second to Invictus Machin. He showed massive improvement from his Bumper form and should be able to pick up a race in the coming months unless the form of this maiden turns out to be below standard. With the connections bookies might just take a chance on his price and we might be able to get a bit of each way value.