Katie Walsh: I like the look of impressive jumper Annsam
The Betway ambassador previews the weekend racing at Kempton, Warwick, Fairyhouse and Punchestown.
Punchestown on Sunday
Like lots of people, I'm looking forward to seeing Impaire Et Passe run again (12:10). He went to Naas for his first start just before Christmas and he absolutely sluiced up. He looks right up there with the best of the novice hurdlers so far, so you’d think he’d be winning before potentially running at the Dublin Racing Festival or waiting for Cheltenham.
The best race of the day is without doubt the 14:10. It’s a real cracker and I can’t put my finger on just one horse. Plenty of them have got great chances on what they’ve shown over fences so far. It looks as though it could be a good race that might work out very well so let’s hope they all run to their best.
It’s also great to see Davy Russell back in the saddle. He’s up there with the best riders this country has ever produced, and it has produced some good ones, so coming out while Jack is injured will be a big boost to all of the team at Cullentra, especially as they build up to some important months in the spring. It’s also really savage luck for poor Jack. While the leg will heal and he'll be back riding winners in no time, I hope this doesn’t affect him too much mentally. He’s a great guy who is very, very talented. He’ll definitely have more big days in the sun.
Kempton on Saturday
The 13:30 is really competitive, but I like the look of Evan Williams’ Annsam . He loves going this way round and I expect he’ll be ridden handy to make use of his good jumping under Adam Wedge, who is such a top rider. Annsam ran really well at Newbury last time in what was a much better race, so he should go very close.
It’s such a shame that Shishkin had a small setback, as we’d likely be seeing him stepping up in trip in the Silviniaco Conti Chase (14:05), but it wasn’t to be for Nicky Henderson and his team. It looks as though the race could go to Paul Nicholls, who has a very strong hand with both Pic D’Orhy and Saint Calvados. I’ve been really impressed with Pic D’Orhy this season and if he continues to improve, he’s going to take some beating. He looks to have his ideal conditions on a track he’ll love.
Warwick on Saturday
Willie Mullins is sending a rare runner over to Warwick in the shape of Mr Incredible in the Classic Chase (15:00). He was brought down on the fourth on his first start for Willie, but he was well backed in a proper handicap at Leopardstown over Christmas, so he must have been showing his new yard something. I’m sure there will be plenty of support for him in the market. It’s a real test of stamina, though, so horses who can stay should be at the top of your lists. Warwick also takes some jumping, so it’s a real test for any horse.
Fairyhouse on Saturday
Blood Destiny was very good on his debut for Willie's yard, and he runs again in the opener (12:27). He’s going to be really tough to beat.
He's not the horse he was because he’s 12 years old now, but Castlegrace Paddy has been a great stalwart for his connections. His mark is rapidly falling and if he’s still got some enthusiasm in him, it wouldn’t surprise me if he went well (14:12). He might be vulnerable to a younger horse, but he’s had some good days and did run well behind Captain Guinness last time.
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