GAVIN CROMWELL: An extremely busy weekend for Brand Ambassador Gavin Cromwell features 14 runners across Naas, Cork and Navan, each of which he previews below along with reflections on Darver Star’s performance at Punchestown.
We’ve had another good week with two winners as well as a couple of other horses that have run well too. Letsbeclearaboutit won a winners bumper in very good style by eight lengths at Punchestown and Vintage Prosecco put in a good performance to win over at Limerick. They are two nice horses going forward and we’re excited about the potential both have.
The former will likely head to the Listed bumper at Navan in December and we’d like to get Vintage Prosecco sold with the hope he’ll stay in the yard. I’m keen to run him over hurdles next.
We’ve got a busy weekend with plenty of runners and here are my thoughts on them all.
We start off with Gabynako in the maiden hurdle (12.00pm). He hasn’t done much wrong at all for us yet and was just touched off in a photo the last day at Fairyhouse. He’s come out of that race well and we’re looking forward to running him here. It’s obviously a fairly strong renewal, but he’s definitely got a good chance.
You had to be disappointed with Wolf Prince the last day at Down Royal. Nothing came to light as to why he ran so below par and the only thing we maybe thought is that he was a bit keen through the race and just did too much. He has been like that before and usually finds plenty for pressure, but on this occasion he didn’t so it was a bit of a head scratcher for us all. His work since has been good, though, and all we can really do is go to the Fishery Lane (12.30pm) on Saturday with the hope that he’ll perform as we know he can. If he does, he’d have to have a chance.
Next up is Wadiyatink Now in the Grade B handicap hurdle (1.37pm). She keeps surprising us and has come on leaps and bounds since she joined the yard. She gets in here off a nice low weight and we’d be hopeful of a big run again. A 12-pound hike is obviously a fairly significant rise in the weights, but she’s done nothing but improve so far and hopefully she can be there or thereabouts.
We then run Vanillier in the maiden hurdle (2.12pm). He ran a nice race on his debut under rules at Punchestown the last day and we’re hoping he can improve on that again here. It looks a decent enough maiden on paper, so hopefully he shows up well. We’ve been happy with him at home and fingers crossed he runs a big race.
Our final runner at Naas is Clash Of D Titans in the handicap chase (2.47pm). He had his first run in nearly 20 months for us at Limerick in October and he should come on plenty for that. He didn’t run too badly considering the lengthy lay-off and his schooling has been good, so he’s entitled to be more competitive and we’d like to think he’ll go well.
We head to Cork on Sunday and start off with Suil Alainn in the maiden hurdle (12.55pm). She ran a respectable race on her first start for us before unfortunately tipping up at the last. I’m not saying she would have won, but she definitely would have been placed and hopefully she can go well again here. The ground at Cork will be very testing and hopefully she can handle that.
You Say Nothing was unfortunate the last day as he fell at the second last when right in contention. He lines up in the handicap hurdle (1.25pm) and seems to be none the worse for the fall, so we’re hoping for another good run. Hopefully he doesn’t do too much in the testing conditions because he’s a free-going sort.
The ground should be to the liking of Jukebox Jive in the handicap hurdle (2.00pm). His jumping hasn’t been great in the past, but he’s been much better at home recently and hopefully he can transfer that to the track. He ran a good enough race in the Irish November Handicap last time where he was just a touch keen and didn’t get home, but hopefully it will be a different story over hurdles.
Father Ailbe goes in the same race and he has been a bit disappointing recently for no apparent reason. He should get through the ground fine and we’re just hoping to get back on the right foot with him.
Finally we run Brex Drago in the handicap chase (3.10pm). He’s unfortunately a bit high in the weights at the moment and a solid run would be more than acceptable.
Over at Navan we begin with Alfa Mix in the beginners chase (1.45pm). He was very progressive over hurdles last year and ran pretty well at the Cheltenham Festival too. He’s a big horse and chasing has always been where we thought he’d excel, so we’re looking forward to starting him out. He’s schooled well at home and with any luck he can start his chasing career positively.
In the same race and in the same JP McManus colours, is Calthor. He ran in an auction maiden at Galway and we were disappointed with how he went there. He’s come from the point-to-point field, so he has experience over fences and we’re going to start him over them here with the hope we’ll see a better horse.
Tokyo Getaway and Walk Me Home run in the handicap hurdle (2.55pm). Tokyo Getaway didn’t go on the deep ground at Cork the last day and hopefully it won’t be as bad at Navan. She’s in good heart at home and we’re hoping for a much better showing.
Walk Me Home was bang there at the last over course and distance the last day before she unseated Mark Walsh. She seems fine after that and in a very similar type of race, hopefully she has a solid chance.
We were disappointed by how Darver Star went at Punchestown on Sunday. He didn’t travel like we know he can, but he did jump well, so it wasn’t all bad. He looked like a slow horse on the day, but horses don’t become slow overnight and I think we’ll just have to blame the ground. We’ve always known he’s a horse that’s better on a sounder surface, so maybe the bad ground was the real reason for the below par run.
We’re still aiming him at the two-mile novice contest at Leopardstown over Christmas as he warrants one more go at that distance, but we do have the feeling that he might want further now. We’ll see how he gets on there and then make a call as to which trip his future lies over.