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GAVIN CROMWELL: Brand Ambassador Gavin Cromwell previews a busy weekend for his yard with runners at both Fairyhouse and Punchestown.

All in all, we were pretty happy with Gabynako’s run in the Grade 1 at Naas on Wednesday. He was up against it with the likes of Bob Olinger and he didn’t disgrace himself by any means. He’s gone up six pounds and that means we’ve got plenty of options moving forward, whether it be the handicap route or if we continue in Graded company. 

We’ve got plenty of runners over the next few days at Fairyhouse and Punchestown and here’s my take on them.

Fairyhouse Saturday

Our first runner at Fairyhouse on Saturday is Josh D’id in the Trial Hurdle (12.00pm). It’s his first run for us having won on his debut in France in November last year. We got him from JP McManus and he’s done everything nicely enough so far, but there aren’t too many options for these juveniles so we’ve decided to start him off here. Like with many of these races there are a huge number of unknown quantities but we’ll see how we go.

Next up is Tokyo Getaway in the handicap hurdle (1.40pm). She’s been a bit disappointing recently, but we’re going to try blinkers here for the first time and hopefully that will have a positive effect. Conor McNamara won on her last season and he’s back in the plate with Jonathan Moore suspended and fingers crossed the combo can have more success here. She’s definitely capable of running well if she’s in the right mood.

We run four in the beginners chase (2.50pm). Again there aren’t an awful lot of opportunities for these beginners so it isn’t ideal having to pitch them all in against each other, but we don’t have many other options. 

Alfa Mix has finished fourth to Blackbow and Captain Guinsess on his two starts over fences so far which is obviously pretty handy form. He did finish a fair way behind them, but a repeat of those runs would hopefully see him involved.

Dakota Beat will probably find this a bit hot, while Ilikedwayurthinkin should find this a bit more manageable having finished third to Andy Dufresne the last day. He should run a nice race on the back of that here. 

It didn’t go well at all for Routine Excellence in the Limerick bumper over Christmas and given we’ve always seen him as a chaser, we’re going to start him out over fences here rather than going for a maiden hurdle. With any luck he can run a solid race too.

Oscar Academy ran much better than his finishing position suggested at Leopardstown the last day. He showed himself better than he had been previously which was encouraging to see. We’re sending him back over fences here and with the trip looking like it will suit, we’re hoping he’ll go well.

Punchestown Sunday

We picked Edmond Dantes up from David Menuisier in England and he makes his first start for us in the maiden hurdle (1.50pm). He’s schooled well since we got him and with any luck he can start his career over hurdles in a positive way.

Conor McNamara takes five pounds off Duchess Ravenwaves in the mares handicap hurdle (2.20pm). She’s had a little break since we last saw, but she hasn’t shown her best recently and will need to get involved here. She’ll like the ground which we’re hoping will bring about a bit of a revival.

Ensel Du Perche goes in the beginners chase (2.50pm). He was third the last day at Naas after over a year off the track which shows he has issues, but he does have ability. This is his first start over the bigger obstacles and he’s pleased us with how he jumps fences, so we’re interested to see how he gets on. He’ll definitely improve for whatever he does here, though.

Our final runner of the weekend is Spades Are Trumps in the Amateur National (3.50pm). We’re hoping this trip sees him to best effect as everything has happened a bit too quickly for him the last couple of times. We’d like to think that a bit more of an emphasis on stamina will bring about a bit more improvement. 

Punchestown Monday

We’ve got plenty entered on Monday at Punchestown and of those, Pretorius in the maiden hurdle (1.05pm) is worth a mention. He came from us from Germany, but is still yet to make his debut after unshipping Johnny before the start at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. He certainly has ability and we’d be hoping that he can show up nicely here.