Ruby Walsh: It’ll be tough to pick between Footpad or Min for Saturday

The biggest weekend so far in the Irish jumps calendar is on the horizon and Ruby's got to get his thinking cap on sharpish for the Dublin Racing Festival ...


I facing some tough decisions ahead of this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival, and choosing between Min and Footpad in the Dublin Chase on Saturday will be among the worst of them.

The plan is to run both Footpad & Min and that’s just one of the tough calls that I’ll have to make at declaration time on Friday morning.

There are decisions to be made all over the place. But I’m much happier to be making these decisions this time around than I was last year when I was hobbling around on a set of crutches with no decisions to make. I thought picking the right one (Invitation Only, see below) in the Thyestes Chase last week was difficult enough.

Splitting Footpad and Min will be a real head-scratcher.

Willie has left in pretty much everything he intends to run this weekend and we’ll have to see if the rain or snow arrives too as the ground is still pretty good at Leopardstown.

I’ll have three to pick from in the Irish Gold Cup on Sunday, there are five to pick from in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Novice Hurdle and there’s the decision to be made between Aramon and Klassical Dream also on Sunday in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle.

You can only ride one and there’s no way that I’m going to get them all right this weekend.

Hopefully I’ll get a percentage of them right.

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Everything went to plan with Invitation Only in winning the Thyestes. It was a really good performance. He carried a lot of weight but his jumping and the way he stayed on up the hill was really impressive.  He’s got a rating now in the 160’s so we’ll have to see what the plan is for him this year.

However, he could be a Grand National horse in time as he jumps and travels beautifully.

I was impressed with Presenting Percy‘s win on the Gowran Park card also in the Galmoy Hurdle

And while there’s been some talk that it’s a worry that Presenting Percy could be running in open company for the first time in a Gold Cup – that wouldn’t concern me.

An ordinary jumper needs experience, but Presenting Percy looks a very professional racehorse to me. He’s very straight forward and only does what he has to do.

I was second to Coneygree on Djakadam in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup and he had only three runs in novice chases, he ran down-the-field in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, before winning the Thyestes Chase.

Presenting Percy has had five runs over fences and is a RSA Chase winner. In a perfect world, he’d have probably had three runs by now but we’re not living in a perfect world. I don’t know what Pat Kelly’s training regime is but if he gets another run under his belt, so be it. He ran in the Red Mills Chase last year and might do the same again.

It wouldn’t worry me if we didn’t see Pat Kelly’s star again until the blue riband on the final day of the Festival.

Presenting Percy will only do whatever Pat Kelly wants him to do.

And whatever he does he’ll be very hard to beat in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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