After the second jump Sizing John made a slight mistake, Djakdam the well backed favourite on his favourite track going for three wins in a row in The John Durkan chase was bowling along in front, but it was like Robbie Power`s mount was merely sizing his opponent’s up as he swooped clear three out to utterly dominate the field on his first run of the season, to think he went off at 2/1!
We all have our favourite horses and we flow towards some rather then others, but it wasn’t until I saw him enter the parade ring last spring that I saw the specialness in Sizing John. For anyone that has followed Kate Harrington on social media will see Sizing John bopping away to tunes while he works , he’s truly a special, special horse, but racing fans will hope that himself and Yorkhill might be getting jiggy with it in Leopardstown. Since Sunday we saw in a piece by Brian O Connor in The Irish Times, that Yorkhill will be aimed at the former Lexus Chase at Leopardstown. Could we see a clash between Yorkhill and Sizing John? Yorkhill I think will stay, his pedigree suggests as much, and I think his current odds of 9/1 for the Gold Cup could look huge when March swings around. Down south in Mallow ,Un De Sceaux gave David Mullins a super spin when routing his tired rivals to win at his ease. He is such a loveable horse and it is so refreshing to see his owners The O Connell family enjoying a day out at their local track. Cork is a super race track and it really does add a spice of life to such days, even if the snow and rain dampened the attendance.
Two horses that frustrated me on a betting level but certainly eased on the eye this weekend where Hollowghraphic and Getabird. Both dominated the field on Sunday and certainly added to an improving CV.
Getabird was a one-time Champion Bumper favourite, but has been hard to train and he will certainly come on from the run, the hope is now that he was ok after the race and continues to take the increase in work. Hollowghraphic and Minella Encore where my two antipost bets for the Champion Bumper, but unfortunately for me, I was refused a stake on Sundays winner before the race, and afterwards his odds where 8/1 with a max stage of 10 euro, no wonder the risk of Anti-post betting is truly a mugs game. Hollowghprahic was very impressive and I loved how he travelled through the race and stayed strongly, he had a run under the belt finishing second to Vision des Flos in the Land Rover bumper last April. He had Rapid Escape, Early Doors and Boot Camp behind him and it looks that he has strengthened over the summer. On Saturday we saw Willie Mullins winning the Foxrock Handicap chase but not with the favourite Acapella Bourgeois, Polidam who was well backed last spring but didn’t perform as might be as expected, but he certainly stamped his authority on Saturday winning at 10/1.
This week the news also broke that four-time Grade 1 winner Flemenstar was to be retired. A horse that certainly gained the attentions of the country after winning a novice chase in Leopardstown and following that with a win in the Powers Gold cup at Fairyhouse, who could forget his then trainer Peter Casey telling RTE`s Tracey Piggott what he would be getting up to that night after the Leopardstown win.
While the Leopardstown entries begin this week, racing continues over the weekend with not as many household names in action, decent action never the less. There are a few that have caught my eye such as exciting mare Salsaretta who has an entry in Tramore on Thursday. Fairyhouse has an interesting card on Saturday while on Sunday feast of races with the action in Navan and Thurles. Navan includes a grade 2 Novice hurdle and a listed bumper won by Samcro and Death Duty in recent years. The Novice field could be an exciting one with both Samcro and Next Destination entered but I would be surprised if we are given that festive treat. In Limerick they also have a Listed Novice Hurdle won by Shattered Love last year, who impressed over fences at Cork on Sunday. If Contingency runs here I would be surprised if the Willie Mullins team aren’t collecting the prize, was on track in Galway and Tramore and was very impressed.