Its back, but did It ever go away? The National hunt season has been slowly taking off in the last few days and weeks.
I don’t apologise for being excited and delighted. Flat racing just doesn’t excite me, it doesn’t enthuse me, but like most racing fans I still watch it.
On a weekend that Katie Taylor achieved her World Title and Aiden O Brien achieved his own place among Irish sporting legends, the racing world was again drawn to an Irish training maestro.
Be it on the flat or over jumps with masters Mullins, O Brien and Elliot we have some of the most talented horse people in the world.
Talking of talented horses , it was such a shame to hear the news that champion bumper winner Fayonagh had sadly suffered a fatal injury during the week. It gave us all a chance to watch back her famous win in Cheltenham, how she flew up the Cheltenham hill was nothing short of exceptional.
Mares have captivated the nations heart in recent years with Annie Power and Quevega , and the pity is that we will never know if Fayonagh would have had the same impact. A huge shame for Gordon Elliot following on from the loss of Mega Fortune, and the sad loss of Lucky Pass after winning a maiden hurdle in Galway during the week.
Rumours have also been circulating this week about Willie Mullins star Douvan. Its amazing how stories take legs, as the horse worked fine on Saturday alongside Yorkhill, and as of Tuesday evening he is on course and on plan for the season. Its not lost on me how some betting companies react to a rumour faster then they react to horses that have been retired or out for the year, when it comes to anti-post Cheltenham markets.
The season really begins this weekend with a cracking two-day festival in Down Royal. The WKD Hurdle includes Melon, Coquin Mans,Mick Jazz and Let`s Dance. Melon who ran so well in Cheltenham behind Labaik in the Supreme last March, Mick Jazz who missed Cheltenham last year through injury, but had defeated Cilaos Emery in Punchestown last February.
The following day we have the JNwine Champion Chase. As of Tuesday, this promises to be a cracking race, which of course will be taken with a pinch of salt as horses will be running for the first time, but it will certainly wet the appetite. Former Gold cup winner Coneygree is in
the mix, as is Our Duke who romped home in the Irish National last April. Gigginstown also have a plethora of runners intended in Valseur Lido,Sub Lieutenant, Road to Respect, Outlander, Alpha Des Obeaux and the exciting Disko. Its back alright, the jumps are back.
ARTICLE BY @cartyban