GAVIN CROMWELL: Eight runners for Brand Ambassador Gavin Cromwell this weekend as the busy Christmas period begins, each of which he previews below.
We’re approaching one of the busiest times of the year as well as one of the most exciting, with loads of racing up and down the country. We’re hoping to run plenty of the festive period, but first of all we’ve got several out at Navan and Dundalk on Friday and here are my thoughts on them all.
We get things going with Mountain Hawk in the handicap chase (12pm). He’s been a little bit disappointing since he joined us, though he did run a bit better at Punchestown two starts back and hopefully he can return to that sort of form here. He’d probably like a bit further than this, but he should go okay around Navan and with any luck the application of blinkers will bring about some improvement too.
Gabynako takes his chance in the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle (1.35pm) and we’re hopeful he’ll run a big race. He won well at Naas the last day and although it wasn’t perhaps the strongest of races, he got the job done nicely and the form looks solid with the third winning by four lengths at Down Royal on Thursday. He’s been beaten by a couple of his rivals, but we think he’s improved since those runs and we’re getting three pounds from Fakiera as well now too. This 2m4f trip will be much more to his liking and this will show us where he sits and if he could be a Cheltenham horse.
We run Western Run and Jukebox Jive in the Grade handicap hurdle (2.10pm). We were quite surprised a rating of 132 meant Western Run carries top-weight, but we won this race last year with Alfa Mix who had a relatively similar profile. He’s in good form and it was unfortunate he fell the last day. He fell too early to know how he would have got on, but the form of that race has worked out well and we’d be pretty hopeful of a big run, providing he can carry the weight.
As for Jukebox Jive, he’ll love the underfoot conditions and has a chance, but needs to run a bit better than he has been to be seriously involved.
Next up is Different Beat who was a non-runner at Naas earlier in the week, so hopefully the ground is a bit looser for her here. She ran pretty well on her first start for us at Thurles, but needs to improve again to get in the mix.
The final runner at Navan is Letsbeclearaboutit in the Listed bumper (3.20pm). He’s shown in his two races so far that he’s got plenty of ability and we think a fair amount of him, but we’re under no illusions that Sir Gerhard is the one to beat and the task isn’t made any easier by the fact we have to give him three pounds. We definitely go there with a chance and although we’re not sure if he’s good enough to beat Sir Gerhard, we’re very hopeful he’ll run a good race.
Over at Dundalk, we run our highest-rated Flat horse Giselles Thunder (4.00pm). She was just touched off in a Listed race last time and we’d be confident she’ll be bang there having had a little break since. This looks an easier race and she looks to hold leading claims.
Crystal Dawn (5.30pm) has been very consistent for us at Dundalk and she should go well from a nice draw. Sam Ewing takes off seven pounds and he’s flying at the moment, so we’d be very hopeful she’ll be involved again.