Ross O'Sullivan: Horses to follow at Down Royal and Wetherby
The Irish trainer previews his two runners from Sunday and Monday, and discusses the best of Saturday's action, including the Champion Chase and the Charlie Hall.
I’m delighted to be back writing for Betway again this season. Hopefully we’ll have a very good season and we’ll have plenty of winners together.
I only have one runner this weekend, and it’s a mare who’s coming off a long lay off. My Friend Aoife has some ability - she won a bumper two years ago - and will benefit from this experience. It looks a good little race, but we’re just happy to get her back on track and we’ll see where we are with her after this race.
We plan to run a nice horse at The Curragh on Monday. Miss Florentine will need a few to come out to get in at final declarations stage, but if she does get in, I think she’ll go well.
We fancied her to run a big race last time and she did just that. She went from the front and was a little too keen, but she was only beaten just over a length in the end. She’ll come on for that and I do think she’ll go well again.
Down Royal on Saturday
The Champion Chase (14:25) is a cracking race. isn’t it? Delta Work is obviously the best horse in it, but he does often need his first run and he needed it badly in this race last year. His season won’t be about this race, I’m sure they’ll have targets that they’re working back from.
Henry De Bromhead’s horses are in great form, he’s been having plenty of winners and he could have another with Chris’s Dream . He was good last season, his only blemish was in the Gold Cup but that can be excused.
Henry got him really fit to win the Troytown first time up, which was a proper performance, and if he’s in the same sort of fitness and form he won’t be too far away under Robbie Power.
Another horse I think will go well is Easy Game for Willie Mullins in the 15:00. Willie won’t have many runners over this weekend as his tend to start a touch later than Gordon Elliott's horses, but this horse does have a recent win on his side.
In the early stages of the season, fitness and match practise are often hard to substitute, so I think he’ll get the better of Samcro in what is a really exciting race. Much like the Champion Chase, they’ll both be great to watch.
I’m looking forward to seeing Sir Gerhard in the bumper (16:10). He’s got a very lofty reputation and cost a lot of money. It’s always exciting to see horses with reputations as you never know how good they could be.
Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby
The Charlie Hall Chase (15:20) is the first proper chase of the season in the UK and has been won by some cracking horses over the years. It’s a race I really enjoy watching.
This year, the start attraction is obviously Cyrname, but you’ve got to have a doubt over the fact he’s clearly much better going right-handed. His trainer, Paul Nicholls, has also stated that he’s better going right-handed and he’ll know the horse better than most!
With that in mind, last year’s winner Ballyoptic is the one I’m looking forward to seeing. Every year at this time, Nigel Twiston-Davies has his horses in fine form and this year will be no different. He’ll be cherry ripe for this.
Visit Betway's horse racing betting page.