Harry Fry: Fletcher's Flyer can recapture form at Punchestown
The National Hunt trainer reflects on a busy week in Ireland and discusses through his runners ahead of the weekend.
Cockney Wren did it nicely on her return from a break at Taunton on Wednesday.
That’s just the start of her season as she’ll run through the summer until the rain arrives again.
We’ll probably go for another novice contest under a penalty next and then maybe look to some of the valuable two-mile handicaps over the next few months.
Minella Awards ran a blinder under top-weight in a very competitive race at Punchestown on Thursday.
He was eight pounds higher than what he won off last season and was only beaten five lengths on ground that was slightly slower than ideal, so we were really happy with the run.
He’s a horse that just doesn’t do the winter and then takes a while to come to himself in the spring.
He’ll now go chasing in May and we’ll keep the ball rolling with him over the summer. I’m really looking forward to him going over fences.
We’ll start in novice chases on better ground and then target one of the more valuable races in the autumn before the rain arrives.
Black Mischief was a good winner at Kempton on Thursday, with the better ground and step back up in trip both in his favour.
He jumped for fun and looks to be getting the hang of things having been a bit keen and headstrong in his previous races.
Aine O’Connor got a very good tune out of him and he’s another one who’ll keep going over the summer.
We’re now looking at a couple of valuable handicap hurdles in a few weeks’ time at Aintree or Market Rasen.
Punchestown and Sandown
Following on from Minella Awards on Thursday, I’ve got one more at the festival in the shape of Fletcher’s Flyer .
He goes in the 3m6f handicap chase (5.00pm), a race that he won two season ago.
His last few runs haven’t been particularly inspiring, but he’s slipped down the handicap as a result and is now eight pounds lower than when he won this race two years ago.
The new declaration of breathing op rules don’t apply in Ireland but it’s worth noting he’s had a cauterisation of the soft palate, which will hopefully help him to recapture his best form.
David Pipe’s horse, Daklondike , should have a good chance and pretty much anything that Willie Mullins has in there has to be a danger.
I’ll be watching from Sandown, though, as I have Dashing Oscar in the 2m4f handicap hurdle (5.15pm).
He was in great form at the start of the season and we’re just hoping that Sandown doesn’t get too much rain.
His last run at Kempton over 2m5f on soft ground was a bit too testing for him.
He’s a good ground horse and this race will be the start of a summer campaign for him which may see him go chasing too.
The better the ground, the better his chances and Aine O’Connor takes a valuable seven pounds off too.
It’s a very competitive race but he definitely has an each-way chance.
Jester Jet won up at Aintree during the Grand National Festival just over a fortnight ago so she brings some of the best form to the table.
Congratulations to Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson has had another fantastic season, in which I should think he’d probably name the Gold Cup as the highlight.
You only have to look at the winner he had a Taunton in the week to see why he’s champion jockey, though.
He must have been working at Don’t Ask for almost a circuit out.
He didn’t look like the winner for most of the way, but Richard didn’t give up on him and he somehow managed to get the horse home in front.
He’s a real credit to the sport and I couldn’t be more pleased for him winning his third title.
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