There’s two meetings in Ireland on New Year’s Day and I can only be at one of them so I’m going to Tramore …
I ride Roney for Paul Nolan who was second here on his last start in a novice hurdle on heavy ground. No great secret in why I was asked to ride him as with two meetings jockeys are scarce.
Mark Walsh rides JP McManus’ Janidil for Willie Mullins who has plenty of experience in France and could prove hard to beat, while my dad’s horse Batcio was a little disappointing the last day, but should be more at home on this better ground.
Stones and Roses ran too badly to be true in a bumper and will need to leave that run behind to have any chance here on his first start over hurdles.
It’s hard to be too confident though unless there’s huge improvement from what we saw at Fairyhouse.
Eight and Bob was unlucky in Cork when he looked likely to win but folded on the run-in. He’s finding it hard to win and despite only winning one race, he has gone up 21 lbs. You would really like him to be winning more often, but hopefully he can go close.
Total Recall would look potentially better treated on ratings, but I’ve plumped for Al Boum Photo who improved all the way through last season. He was rock-solid – despite falling a couple of times – and I’m hoping he is a little bit better than his 159 rating.
Invitation Only won twice last season but then his form tailed off a little, but he’ll like the trip while Total Recall looks strong and is working well and should run a good race.
All three of ours here are having their first run of the season and as I can only ride one I’ve gone for Al Boum Photo.
However, Henry De Bromhead’s Sub Lieutenant could be the one we all have to beat. He’s battle-hardened and race-fit.
My dad has Roxboro Road for JP McManus in the novice chase. He won a handicap hurdle at Ballinrobe two runs ago but disappointed with a penalty after that. He jumps well and Dad thinks he’s in good form.
Westport Lady won well on her last start and likes going right-handed and will appreciate the better ground too.
My Sister Sarah ran a little bit green down the back straight the last time and that cost her more ground than the distance she was beaten by in the end. She looks to have the best chance of Willie’s runners on New Year’s Day.
Ontheropes was second in a point-to-point at Punchestown and looks a good galloper. I’ve said before though that our bumper horses aren’t running to their normal level, but hopefully this fella can put that right.