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All systems go for a big Easter weekend

24 Mar 2016

The last couple of weeks have been fairly quiet on the racetrack, but it’s given me a great chance to get myself nicely prepared for a busy Easter period

Oisin hanging out with Champions Series star Hot Streak earlier this week.

The last couple of weeks have been fairly quiet on the racetrack, but it’s given me a great chance to get myself nicely prepared for the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield tomorrow.

That said I have been keeping myself busy by riding out for lots of different yards. I went over to Ireland earlier this week and was lucky enough to do some work for Johnny Murtagh and Michael O’Callaghan. The extra exercise has seen me strengthen up my collarbone even further and I now feel very fit heading into the turf season which gives me great confidence.

I’m booked in to ride for Andrew Balding in five races tomorrow, so I’ll do my best to give you the inside line on how I think they could pan out.

For starters, I’m up on Secret Hint in the opening Fillies race. She’s been very consistent all winter but will need to step again up to hit the frame here. She’s been drawn wide in stall nine and will have the hot favourite Cold As Ice outside her for company. My main aim is to keep her covered and if she stays out of trouble, then I’d say she has a live chance of being in the mix at the business end.

Next up I ride Intransigent in the sprint. I think it’s fair to put a line through his last run as he was badly drawn and I couldn’t get him to settle as well as I’d have liked. There should be more pace in tomorrow’s race which will play to his strengths and if he can come back to his better form then he’d be there or thereabouts at the shake up for sure.

In the marathon I have Ballynanty. As regular readers will know, I think a lot of this horse and I’m very hopeful he’ll run well tomorrow. I’ll aim to drop him in and get him into a nice rhythm slightly off the pace before producing him for a trademark late burst. The race looks really competitive and we’ll need a little luck in running but he’s certainly one to keep a close eye on as the race progresses.

In the big race of the day I’ll be steering Man of Harlech. His last two runs have seen him run far too freely and as a result his finishing positions have been below what we’d expected of him. To counter this greenness, Andrew Balding has him wearing a hood for the first time tomorrow and that should see his concentration improve no end. We’re confident that it’ll do the trick.

Finally, I have Bernies Boy in the three-year-old mile race. He has a lot to find on the official ratings but is expected to make a big step forward from most recent run. Outside us, I think the booking of Champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa on Sea of Flames looks very interesting indeed; he could well give the favourite Haalick a run for his money!

 

I couldn’t talk about the racing this week without mentioning the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan. The big race looks set to be dominated by the two American Horses Frosted and California Chrome. They’re both drawn wide and will need to be very sharp out of the stalls if they’re going to make it to the turn in a decent position. But if California Chrome can use his tactical speed to get across the field early on and get a prominent place on the rail, then I think he’d be very hard to beat.

Outside of the main event I really like the look of Sole Power in the Al Quoz Sprint. The favourite Ertijaal has improved massively since he’s arrived in the Emirates and has to be respected; but I think Eddie Lynam’s old boy could prove too classy. It’d be a great story if he could get another group one win under his belt at the age of nine and he’ll have plenty of people rooting for him back in Ireland.

Horse to Follow: MASTER OF IRONY

Ralph Beckett’s four-year-old got a mention in my last blog and I can’t help but think he’s set to run a big race at the Lincoln meeting next weekend. At this stage of the season a stiff mile would be exactly the right trip; and with him being so lightly raced, the handicapper seems to have given him a fair mark to go off.