Ross O'Sullivan: Everything in Baie Des Iles' favour for Chepstow
In his first exclusive blog as a Betway ambassador, the trainer runs us through his plans for the Welsh Grand National and other festive racing.
My wife Katie Walsh and I are delighted to be working with Betway and we look forward to updating you on our yard’s runners.
The season’s been going pretty well so far and we have some nice young horses to look forward to in the spring time.
Excited about Baie Des Iles
We’ll be heading over to Chepstow on St Stephen’s Day in preparation for Baie Des Iles’ run in the Welsh Grand National on Thursday.
This has been the plan for a while and we’re happy that they’ve had some rain.
She was fifth two years ago when only five years old and is a lot stronger now. Physically she looks very different to the way she did back then, so we’re hopeful she can improve.
She wants a test, as she showed when winning the National Trial at Punchestown in 2017. She has a high knee action, so likes soft ground and she’ll just keep on galloping.
We couldn’t get a run into her before the Grade One at Auteuil last month because of the ground. She travelled and jumped well that day but just got tired. She’s been absolutely fine since then.
It was a really special day for us when she won the Prix des Drags in June, as that was our first graded winner.
The prize money is huge out there so we were thrilled, especially for her owners, Zorka and Charles Wentworth, who have been great supporters of the yard.
The long term plan would be to go back to France for the same race, but have a crack at the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris in May as well.
There’s obviously Aintree and Fairyhouse to consider as well. She’ll be entered in both and we’ll see how we go nearer the time.
She did a piece of work at Naas on Tuesday after racing and galloped very well. We were really pleased with her and the trip over to Wales won’t bother her as she’s a relaxed mare.
Everything should be in her favour and we’re hoping for a massive run. Mark Enright will ride, he’s a very good jockey and has been riding plenty for us this season.
Other runners over Christmas
Western Sea won well at Tramore last week and goes to Limerick on Thursday for a novice hurdle.
He’s on a hat-trick now and the conditions of the race should really suit him. We’re hoping for a very good run.
We were very pleased with D’bru Na Boinne on his first start for the yard when winning a beginners chase at Thurles last month.
He’s freshened up well since then and he looks like an improving type. He’ll go to Punchestown on New Year’s Eve for a handicap chase and he should go well.
Aintree on the agenda for Call It Magic
We couldn’t have been happier with Call It Magic in the Becher Chase a couple of weeks ago.
It was a great effort to finish fourth, beaten around seven lengths and we’re looking forward to the spring with him.
He’d need to go up in the weights to get in the Grand National, but we may look at the Topham. Wherever he goes he’s a nice horse to look forward to for Zorka and Charles.
Foxhunters route for Thunder And Roses
It’s obviously a real thrill for Katie in particular to have her old friend Thunder And Roses in the yard.
He gave her one of the best days of her career in 2015 when they won the Irish National, so it’s extra special that he’s now with us.
He was second in an open point-to-point the other day and the main plan would be to qualify him for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham or Aintree.
There’s plenty of spark left in him and he’s now owned by the Irish National Stud Racing Club, which has only recently been set up.
It’s a great initiative that makes it not too costly for new owners to get involved in the game.
Christmas is always a great time and we’ll have a nice family day on Tuesday.
It’s always a really busy period, though, so there won’t be much partying, especially with us off to Chepstow on Wednesday.
I hope you all have a great Christmas and Katie and I would like to wish you all the best for 2019.
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