Nov 15, 2021

Read on for his reaction to that double as well two other winners, who might have Cheltenham on the agenda…


Big hopes for Punchestown bumper winner

It was hard not to be impressed by The Big Doyen at Punchestown on Sunday. He looks a very smart horse, and I must admit I did think that after he won at Roscommon the first day where he was very green but still managed to get the job done pretty snuggly.

The chaps at home had said he had improved since then, but I don’t think anyone thought it was quite as much as it proved to be! I’ve been lucky to sit on plenty of good horses over the years and he’s another who you’d have to be pretty hopeful we’ll be hearing a lot about in the coming years.

I haven’t spoken with Peter, but it seems the plan is now to wait for Cheltenham and with natural improvement, he’s got to be a player come March. We’re all very excited about him, that’s for sure.

Vaucelet on track for Cheltenham

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Vaucelet was one I was looking forward to and he got the job done well at Fairyhouse on Tuesday. It was really nice to win it because it rode like a very good race and it was a significant step up from his Point To Point success a few weeks prior.

Mighty Stowaway, who I rode to success in October, took us away at a really good gallop and my lad needed to be at it to win. He wasn’t stopping at the line and I just felt he was only doing enough in front and there was probably plenty more petrol in the tank.

David [Christie] has the Foxhunters at Cheltenham in mind as his long-term goal and I’d imagine we’ll work back from there with regards to where he runs in between. Down Royal at Christmas could be an option, but plans are pretty fluid at the moment.

Double at Loughbrickland

He might have dead-heated, but I was still very happy with Winged Leader. He’s a horse who usually takes a run or two to get going and we were taking on a race-fit Mighty Stoaway, so things were stacked against us a bit. He dug really deep from the back of the last and on reflection it was a fair result because neither horse deserved to lose.

My other winner on Saturday came aboard Definetly Darsi for Cian Collins. Cian is a trainer to really keep an eye on having worked for Gordon [Elliott] for a number of years and he’s got a nice one on his hands with this lad.

He had a good run at Loughanmore the first day where he made a little bit of a mistake at the second last which startled him a bit, but he bounced back here to win pretty nicely. I believe Cian’s plan is now to target him at a winners’ race and hopefully he can step forward in that sort of company.

Hoping Monty can Star

Another who I mentioned that was worth keeping tabs on was Monty’s Star. He had an entry last week, but Colin [Bowe] just decided he wanted to give him another couple of weeks. He’s very much one I’m looking forward to riding and hopefully he’ll be out in a couple of weeks.

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