BUVEUR D'AIR RETAINING HIS CROWN TOPPED MY CHELTENHAM DOUBLE
That was the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. It was a great week, as it always is.
The big one for me was obviously BUVEUR D’AIR. Expectations were high, he was odds-on favourite for the Champion Hurdle, so it was great to get him home in front.
We went a real good gallop and he travelled nicely. I was happy all the way, until Melon arrived up alongside me after we had jumped the second last flight. I didn’t know how much Paul had left, but I knew that my horse would find plenty. He needed to find plenty, I had to throw everything at him, but he did, he battled on well up the hill and we got home by a neck.
He probably wasn’t at his brilliant best, but he still found enough to get the job done. That is what champions do. Even if they are not at their absolute best, they still find a way to win. He is a dual Champion Hurdle winner now.
It meant a lot to me, I missed him last year so it was fantastic to get back on him and win a Champion Hurdle. I got a great kick out of it, especially as it was so close. I was delighted too for the boss and for Nicky.
That was my first ride on the first day, and I was also lucky enough to win on my last ride on the last day too, LE PREZIEN in the Grand Annual.
The boss had five in the race, and it was a tough choice between a few of them at first, but the ground made it easier. Le Prezien had run such a good race on soft ground in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November.
He did it well. He travelled well for me, we moved up around the home turn and he stayed on well on the run-in. It was tough work but he stuck his head out and galloped on willingly.
ANIBALE FLY ran a great race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday. He travelled far better than he did at Leopardstown.
He didn’t have the pace of the first two, Native River and Might Bite, through the second part of the race, he just couldn’t go with them. But he stayed on well from the last, he closed on Might Bite on the run-in and he came away from Road To Respect to take third place.
The ground probably helped him to travel, but it was a very good run from him.
GLENLOE went very close in the Pertemps Network Final on Thursday. He travelled well through the race, but he just took his eye off the last and missed it. He rallied well but he just couldn’t get back up and catch Delta Work, who also ran on strongly.
OK CORRAL ran a big race too in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He didn’t have the pace to go with the front ones through the middle part of the race, but he stayed going well, he kept on well to take second place behind Kilbricken Storm. He was never going to catch the winner, but it was still a very good run.
APPLE’S SHAKIRA could only finish fourth in the Triumph Hurdle. She just raced too freely through the early stages of the race.
She travelled well to the home turn, but it got difficult for her from there. She did keep going though to finish fourth. Hopefully there will be other days for her.
YANWORTH was also disappointing in the Stayers’ Hurdle. The slow pace didn’t help him, and he was only beaten a total of six and three-quarter lengths in the end, but he finished a very tired horse.