Yard form over Christmas

The highlight for our yard was definitely the win for Paddy’s Planet at Naas last weekend. He was so game, I was delighted with him. His work had been good beforehand and he was off a nice mark, so it wasn’t a surprise. He’s gone up 9lb for winning but he should be okay. If he’s alright, he might go to Fairyhouse at the end of January for another handicap hurdle.

He’ll be a lovely horse when he goes over fences, too. His owner Richard Murphy is having a great time of it, as this is the first horse he’s owned. He’s getting some kick out of it and is a very passionate racing fan.

The horse came from Jamie Codd who gave him nice recommendation after he won a point-to-point, and he’s turning out to be a good buy!

Theatre World travelled to Ayr last week and ran well. Between the third-last and second-last, I thought we’d win. I wouldn’t rule out him going back to England in the spring and I’m sure he can win a little race.

Benefit Run has been on the go all year. He’s been a ‘nearly horse’ all season. He got collared at Galway and was a bit unlucky, and was going to win at Sligo earlier in the season but fell at the last. He also ran well at Fairyhouse, too. We’ll give him a break now and bring him back when we get some better ground.  He’ll probably be trained with Galway in mind in the summer.

Favori Logique is another summer horse who ended up running into the winter as the ground stayed dry for so long. He’ll be winning races again when he gets better ground in the spring and summer.

Bythesametoken will go over fences now. He’s better going left-handed and I’m looking forward to seeing how he progresses now he goes over the larger obstacles. He could run in the next few weeks.

Koolasice ran well on Friday in Sahir, Bahrain over a straight 6f. Ideally, he would want to run around a bend, so he might stay out there for a 7f race. He got invited on the back of his third in Listed race earlier in the season. He’s rated 97, so he’s got ability.

Christmas runners who caught my eye

Ferny Hollow was very good in giving weight and a good beating to the mare, Riviere D’etel, but the latter was so tough in her defeat and kept going and looked hardy. She will be winning plenty of races this season.

Having said that, take nothing away Ferny Hollow, who is the right favourite for the Arkle and, at this stage, looks the best 2m novice chaser at this stage of the season.

Galvin has improved, hasn’t he? At the start of the season, he was a Grand National horse, but after his win in the Savills Chase they have every right to campaign him for the Gold Cup. He mowed down A Plus Tard and shows he stays very well, so he’ll go straight to Cheltenham now and on good ground, he’s a player.

Klassical Dream stole five lengths at the start of the Christmas Hurdle, but that probably didn’t make the biggest difference to him winning. He was simply the best horse on the day and is the one to beat at Cheltenham, if that’s where he goes next. In the same race, Flooring Porter ran very well too. He likes to lead and dictate the pace, but he got left behind in that messy start.

If I had Champ, he’d definitely be staying over hurdles after winning a Grade 1 on his first start of the season. He beat the English’s best of the rest and is their leading in this race. He needs to step up again but he’s not a million miles away.

Galopin Des Champs was exceptional on his chase debut. I know everyone has said the same thing, and we can’t all be wrong!. He jumped quick and straight, and I love the fact that Paul couldn’t pull him up, it took an age. He could have gone around again and wherever he goes next, he’s going to be followed by plenty!

Sharjah won his fourth Matheson, a really impressive feat. He loves that tight inside track at Leopardstown, so you can see why he likes Cheltenham. I don’t think the Honeysuckle camp will be worried, though.

I was seriously impressed with Sir Gerhard. He was hacking up the straight when others were struggling. While Jonbon does look good, he’s still not beaten too much. His stablemate Constitution Hill looked like he could go right to the very top when he absolutely bolted up at Sandown on Saturday. The clash between the three of them in the Supreme could make it one of the races of the entire Festival.

Fil D’or was really, really good over Christmas. It pleased me to see him to do what he did as we weren’t far away from him with Sea Sessions. He’s a worthy favourite for the Triumph Hurdle at the moment. Now the rain is falling more, I suspect we’re going to see a few more of the better juvenile hurdlers running.

December point-to-point winners, sales and bumper winners

There are some lovely horses who have run recently and are worthy of going in your notebooks.

Madmansgame is a half-brother to some lovely horses and has since been bought to go in training with Willie Mullins for £250,000. He won so easily at Boulta and could be anything.

Halka Du Tabert is a filly who I think could be special. She was bought by Kenny Alexander, but I don’t know where she’s going to be trained yet. I can’t wait to see her run again.

Red Dirt Road won a point for Sam Curling, and I liked the way he went about his business. The Curlings sell their young horses – that’s their game – so it wouldn’t surprise me if he went for big money to a big yard.

The coming weeks

We’ve got a lot to look forward to. Sea Sessions is in good form and will likely go to Doncaster for a hurdle race at the end of January. She went to Aintree last time and won a Listed contest. After Doncaster, with a bit of luck, we’d love to get her to Cheltenham for the Boodles Hurdle.

We’ve got a couple of young horses who will be making their debuts for us in the next four to six weeks. You never know what you have until you run them, but we’re hoping there’s a nice one or two lurking away.

We’ve also had a few flat horses coming back in as we start to get them ready for the flat season. It’s mad to think the jumps season is halfway through and we’re planning for the flat season. It shows how fast time is going!