Harry Fry: We can’t let the Irish have it all their own way
The Betway ambassador is relishing taking the Irish on in their own backyard as he previews his Wednesday and Thursday runners at Punchestown Festival.
We’ve had some good winners at the Punchestown Festival in recent years and we now start putting it on the agenda for certain horses as early as January.
It’s a really good meeting with a slightly more relaxed, end-of-season feel to it.
We try and keep some horses back so they are fresh for the meeting and that’s worked pretty well for us in the past.
The rain that’s fallen should suit all of our chances over the next couple of days, while it then looks like drying out as the week goes on which is ideal.
Hell’s Kitchen wasn’t one of those that was fresh heading into Tuesday’s Champion Chase and that’s probably what’s cost us.
Running at both Cheltenham and Aintree probably took its toll. Even Min looked a little tired at the end having been so impressive at Aintree and ultimately it was a good performance from Un De Sceaux, who had been kept off the track since Cheltenham.
Hell’s Kitchen deserves a holiday now and we’ll look forward to next season with him after a nice break.
Wednesday at Punchestown
Caribert in the 2m4f hurdle (16:55) is one of our best chances, if not the best chance, of the whole week at Punchestown.
He’s only had one start over hurdles, finishing runner-up at Exeter back in January on New Year’s Day.
He had a few little niggles after the race and we therefore decided to give him some time off and set our stall out for Punchestown.
The beauty of Punchestown is that it comes after the end of the UK jumps season, so he will remain a novice hurdler for the next 12 months even if he does win.
He’s been working very well and the 2m4f trip will certainly suit. On ratings it looks like he’s got plenty to find, but he’s an awful lot better than the horse he was at Exeter and we’re hoping for a really big run.
Like with Hell’s Kitchen on Tuesday, we’re the only representative from the UK in this race. Some would think we must be mad to take on the Irish in their own backyard, but somebody has to have a go and we can’t let them have it all their own way!
Thursday at Punchestown
We won the Stayers’ Hurdle (17:30) with Unowhatimeanharry two years ago but he is an 11-year-old now.
The race doesn’t look the strongest three-mile hurdle of the season and we’d certainly have a chance if he can bounce back to something like his autumn form.
It’s fair to say we’re just putting our faith in him recapturing that old form. He hasn’t run anywhere near his best on his last couple of starts and we’re going there with hope rather than expectation.
We’ve then got two runners in the three-mile handicap hurdle (18:05), which we won a couple of years ago with Minella Awards.
Having not won in two years, Air Horse One is finally back down to his last winning mark and steps up to three miles for the first time.
Like we did with If The Cap Fits when stepping him up in trip to three miles, we’ve applied the cheekpieces and hopefully they can do the trick again.
Sometimes when a horse has been beaten a few times they lose a bit of confidence and just need something to sharpen them up.
Jonathan Burke takes the ride. He’s been coming over to school for us quite a lot and he’s a very good, young jockey.
Sean Bowen rides Captain Drake . He’s been progressive throughout the course of the season and seems to be a novice going the right way.
The ground was a bit too quick for him when runner-up at Kelso last time out and he’ll appreciate a bit of cut underfoot.
Sean rode him on that last start at Kelso and gets on with the horse well, so it was an obvious choice to have him on board again.
Lastly, and possibly my best chance of a winner on the Thursday, is Deadringerforlove in the Listed Mares’ Novice Hurdle (19:15).
This is without doubt a tougher task than the race she won at Chepstow last time out but we think there’s still plenty of improvement to come.
It doesn’t look like the strongest contest and we think it could be the ideal opportunity to get her a bit of black type.
She’s been progressing very nicely at home, has travelled over well and we’re hoping for a very big run.
Visit Betway's horse racing betting page.