GAVIN CROMWELL: Brand Ambassador Gavin Cromwell looks ahead to an exciting few days for his yard at Leopardstown and Limerick with a number of runners, each of which he previews below.
It’s obviously one of the busiest times of the year and we’re no different with a host of runners over the festive period. We’ve got four running in Graded races which is very exciting for us and there wouldn’t be a much better Christmas present than if one of those or any of our other runners could come in front.
Here’s my take on my runners over the next few days.
Our first runner over the festive period is our biggest runner too with Darver Star lining up in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase (2.15pm). He was very good on his chasing debut, but you had to be a bit disappointed with the run at Punchestown the last day. It was very testing ground there and he’ll definitely appreciate the better surface here and we’re hoping that a small wind operation should mean we see the horse we saw on his seasonal reappearance. If he’s back to his best, then he’s got to have a great chance and we’re really looking forward to running him.
Army Of One takes her chance in the maiden hurdle (12.15pm). She ran in a Listed race at Aintree the last day and just struggled a bit in the deep ground there. Given that, it’s a bit of a concern that she’ll encounter a similar surface here, but she’s in good form and hopefully she can run well.
Presenting Meghan then runs in the handicap hurdle (1.57pm). She was a bit disappointing last time at Doncaster having been far too keen. She’s been very well in herself since then, though, and we’d be pretty confident she’ll be able to leave that below par run behind her.
We run Jeremys Flame in the beginners chase (12.35pm) on the 27th. She also had an entry in the handicap but we decided to come here. Hopefully they’ll go a decent clip which would suit her and we’d expect that to be the case with Klassical Dream in there. She’s not the most straightforward of mares but when she’s on a going day, she’s very very good and fingers crossed she’s in that sort of form here.
Yafordadoe was another who had a few options but we’ve gone for the handicap hurdle (2.20pm). He gets in off 10st9lbs and Conor McNamara takes off another five pounds and that should mean he’s pretty well-handicapped. He’s been in good form at home and was in good form on the Flat earlier this year which should leave him in a good spot for this. We’re very happy with him and he should go well off that weight.
Back to Limerick and Jurby opens up proceedings in the veterans’ handicap chase (12.55pm). He was very good at Down Royal back in January, but didn’t show the same form at Punchestown earlier this month. We thought he’d run a bit better than he did, but it was his first run after almost a year, so he did have excuses. He comes here in good form and we’ve had this race in mind for a while.
We’re looking forward to running Vanillier in the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle (2.05pm). We think plenty of him and he won his maiden nicely at Naas the last day. This is obviously a big step up in quality but I’m very happy with him and we’re hopeful he’ll run a big race. He’ll definitely be suited by this step up in trip and he’s one we are excited about that’s for sure.
We’ve made the decision to supplement Flooring Porter in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle (1.50pm). He bolted up in the Grade B at Navan the last day and the handicapper has given him 14 pounds for that meaning he’s rated 150 now. That’s verging on Graded class so we’ve made the decision to come here to test the waters and see if he’s up to it. Make no mistake, he’s being thrown in at the deep end and the opposition is as you’d expect for a Grade 1, but he’s progressing at a rate of knots.
We’ve always thought he had plenty of ability and his run the last day showed a glimpse of that, so, at the very least, we’re expecting him to show that supplementing was the right move.
Wolf Prince ran a cracker in the Fishery Lane last time and he takes his chance in the Grade 2 Grant Thornton Hurdle (1.40pm). That was much more like the Wolf Prince we know and although Aspire Tower will be a very tricky opponent, our lad is in great form. He’s done well since Naas and we’re excited to see how he gets on.