AN EMOTIONAL DAY AT FAIRYHOUSE AS MY IRISH NATIONAL DREAM WAS FULFILLED
I’ve got to admit that Monday’s Irish National win on SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR ATR Tracker was quite an emotional one for me
Fairyhouse is my local track - I lived 10 minutes away and went there from when I was a boy when I’d dream about winning the big one.
The first that sticks in my mind was 1991 when I stood at the last and watched Adrian Maguire beat Cahervillahow a short head on Omerta – I was 11.
It’s one race I’ve always wanted to win and over the years I’ve had plenty of fancied rides and none of them have really happened on the day.
As for Monday, well, it couldn’t have gone any smoother really. I couldn’t believe how easily he was travelling and just kept popping away.
All I was looking for was a clear passage without having to ask too many questions.
He was very clever at his fences, fiddled when he needed too, which was very good for a novice like him.
The only anxious moment was when he got a little outpaced at the second last when the front few got away from him for a stride or two but he soon grabbed them back and flew home up the run-in.
I’ve been very fortunate to have picked up some very good rides for J P and Jonjo this season – you couldn’t win for two better men.
There are going to be some very good days ahead for Shutthefrontdoor and I have to say that we had a very good night afterwards, thanks to him.
EMILY GRAY ATR Tracker put in a career-best effort to finish second in the two-mile maress’ listed novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham on Wednesday. Certainly hasn’t stopped improving and she would jump a fence.
POLLY PEACHUM ATR Tracker is yet another example of how Nicky Henderson can coax improvement out of mares – he reminds me if Paddy Mullins in that respect. Although she would jump a fence, she’s improved enough to stay over hurdles next season.
ROCK THE WORLD ATR Tracker is a horse I’ve always liked and I thought he’d do better than finish fourth in the maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday. I’ve no doubt that he’s better than that. He’ll improve for the run having been off since January.
OUR MAN ZEBO ATR Tracker came back with a great run for Michael Hourigan having been off since August and was probably beaten by a fair horse in Lotsofmemories in the three-mile handicap hurdle. He could win a decent hurdle this summer or jump a fence.
REBEL FITZ ATR Tracker might well have won the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup even if Ballycasey had stood up. I felt that I had him covered two out. My fella was struggling with the softer ground mid-race but came good turning in when I gave him a squeeze.
KITTEN ROCK ATR Tracker would probably have won the two-mile Grade 3 hurdle on Monday in another couple of strides. He’ll improve again for that because he was only just understanding what was required halfway up the run-in.
UNE ARTISTE ATR Tracker was another example of how Nicky can finesse the best out of mares. She was beaten a long way at Cheltenham but was right back to her best to win the Grade 3 mares' chase over two and a half. We could see her again at the Punchestown Festival.