It was nice to go skiing for a few days last month. We were in and out really, but it was nice to get away.

Everyone is really excited about the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend. It’s such a good idea, the prize money is fantastic and the timing before Cheltenham is perfect.

Leopardstown on Saturday

My brother Ruby rides Relegate  in the opening Grade 1 novice hurdle (12:50).

I won a Grade 2 mares’ bumper on her at this meeting last year and we then went on to win the Champion Bumper, my third and final winner at the Cheltenham Festival.

Every Cheltenham winner is special and I had to wait a long time for my third after Thousand Stars in the 2010 County Hurdle.

It’s really hard to get a ride at Cheltenham never mind ride a winner, but I was lucky enough to win a few there.

Back to Relegate. It was a bit of a messy race at Punchestown on her reappearance. She got hampered at the last and couldn’t get her head back in front.

She made amends at Naas last time and I’d say that was a tasty enough race.

Obviously this is a big step up in grade, but she gets the mares’ allowance, which will help, and she should enjoy the step up in trip.

The fact Ruby has picked her over Salsaretta has to be a positive I suppose. It’s a shame Battleoverdoyen isn’t there, but it’s extremely competitive.

Pat Fahy’s horse Dunvegan must have a good chance as he’s such a great traveller.

The big race of the day is the Irish Champion Hurdle (13:25) and Apple’s Jade  is the one they all have to beat.

She has won nine Grade 1’s, which is pretty incredible. She gets the mares’ allowance and I think she’s the one every jockey would want to be on.

I know she hasn’t run over two miles for a long time, but I wouldn’t be worried about that. She was unbelievable the last day, they couldn’t get near her at any point.

She didn’t look slow at all, she was just galloping and jumping.

The trip isn’t a problem for special horses, they can swap from two to three miles. They have the pace and that’s what makes a proper Grade 1 horse, they can go any distance.

They like Melon a lot at Willie Mullins' yard, but I can’t see him beating her.


I’d say Min  would be Ruby’s best chance of a Grade 1 winner on Saturday in the Dublin Chase (15:10).

He won it easily last year and was very good in the John Durkan on his reappearance in December.

Simply Ned loves it round Leopardstown and he has to be respected after winning again over Christmas.

Min has the younger legs, though, and he’d be the one for me.

I’m a massive fan of Le Richebourg  who should take all the beating in the Irish Arkle (15:45).

I loved him the last day. He’s as quick in the air as he is anywhere and he must be an absolute joy for Mark Walsh.

They’ll go a good gallop in this race, with Gary Moore’s Knocknanuss in the field, and he could set it up nicely for Le Richebourg.

My dad Ted runs Kildorrery  in the closing handicap chase (16:20). He ran well last time, but the race didn’t work out quite right for him.

He wears a hood and he’s definitely not straightforward. He’s extremely free in his races, but he settles best over fences and he’s still young.

Ruby wants to ride him again, which is a bonus, and dad is delighted with him at home. He appreciates decent ground, which he should get.

It would be great if it worked out, but it’s a competitive handicap.

Leopardstown on Sunday

There’s not a lot between Sir Erec and Tiger Tap Tap in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle (13:15). They both ran great races in the maiden hurdle here over Christmas.

They deserve to be first and second in the betting after that, but this is a good race and the Triumph Hurdle picture will be clearer after it.

We’re going to see horses that get beat here and turn the form around at Cheltenham, though.

I’d obviously be hoping Ruby can get his head in front but it should be a very good race.

The Grade 1 novice hurdle (13:50) looks very open. Aramon was very good the last day and Ruby rides Klassical Dream.

Vision D’Honneur also won well last time, so it will be a very interesting race.

La Bague Au Roi must have a good chance in the Flogas Novice Chase (15:00). She’s done very well this season and is another who is getting the mares’ allowance.

It’s great to see some of the English horses coming over here for this meeting. It’s good to see how the form works out ahead of Cheltenham.

If you’re an owner and you see the prize money on offer, why wouldn’t you come? Especially if you can go and watch the rugby at the same time!

This might be too sharp a test for Delta Work. I’m not sure he’ll have enough speed.

I actually think Winter Escape could be the one here. I know Aidan Howard well and I’m a big fan of his. The horse has been a revelation since coming over from Alan King’s.

I could also see Hardline running well at a big price.

The big race of the meeting is the Irish Gold Cup (15:35), and it’s a shame Kemboy doesn’t run.

Road To Respect was unlucky the last day. They didn’t go much of a gallop and he might get his head in front with a truly run race. He’s the one for me.

It’s interesting that Ruby has picked Bellshill over Al Boum Photo, he definitely would have had the choice.

Dad runs Any Second Now in the 2m5f handicap chase (16:10). He ran well last time and drop backs in trip here.

Hand on heart I’d say he’d like softer ground, but he goes there with a chance and we’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t run well.

Hoping we come out on top in the rugby

It’s Ireland all the way for me in the rugby. There will be great excitement around Dublin on Saturday.

I don’t know all the ins and outs, but it’s a game I enjoy watching. We’ll be getting out of Leopardstown quickly so we can watch it and I’ looking forward to it. What a great weekend of sport!

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