An exciting Christmas period is on the horizon and the big stables are already beginning to to unleash their top talent on the track. The Irish jumps season tends to really kick into gear this weekend at Fairyhouse on Sunday, where we’re likely to see the return of Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace.
Keep an eye on French import Saint Sam in Grade 3 Juvenile Hurdle
There’s a lot of good racing on Sunday, starting out with a good juvenile hurdle at 12.30pm, where we should start to get a look at which Irish horses might be good enough to go down the Triumph Hurdle route.
Willie trains Saint Sam who looks to me like a good type at home and he seems to be doing everything right. It’s a tough task on his Irish debut but it wouldn’t surprise me if he won given the way Willie’s are going now.
Grade 2 test ideal return for Concertista on Saturday
Cheltenham winner Concertista is a mare I like and she should be too good for her rivals in Saturday’s Grade 2 Mares’ Novice Hurdle at 1.01pm. She maintains her novice status for this run and a win here will set up an exciting campaign for her.
She looks to be in great shape around Willie’s and always gave me a good feel when I was lucky enough to ride her. Concertista is only six, has a good balance of speed and stamina and it will be interesting to see how far she can go this season.
Hard to look past Envoi
Gordon has a stranglehold on the Drinmore Novices’ Chase and you’d probably be foolish to look anywhere apart from Envoi Allen. He’s a proper horse and looked unbelievable around Down Royal. He looked a little big there but he’ll tighten up a bit for it and improve, but he wouldn’t need to improve a lot to win this well.
Envoi Allen was one of my first picks in the Tote Ten to Follow as you need a good novice chaser to get some Grade 1 points on the board. This horse is backing up all of the hype and can hopefully do the job in the Drinmore.
Look out for Cool Jet in the bumper
Cool Jet is entered for the four-year-old’s bumper at Fairyhouse on Sunday and he’ll take a bit of beating on his racecourse debut if he turns up. He’s by a sire called Jet Away who has done well with point to pointers and this horse was looking ready to run in the spring before the Covid lockdown.
He goes nicely at home and whether he runs this weekend or not, will be one to look out for between now and Christmas.
Energumene has what it takes for the Arkle
I was keen to have Energumene in my Tote Ten to Follow list and, thankfully, Willie’s exciting novice chaser started his season well with an 18 length debut win at Gowran last week. He is a horse who has always schooled well and shown potential to be a high class horse. This was a good step in the right direction, but of course things get a bit tougher now and he’ll have to go and prove it the next day.
You’d imagine he might take the normal route to one of the novice chases at Cheltenham, starting with something at Christmas and then onto the Dublin Racing Festival. He is a big horse and will stay very well, but he’s so quick over his fences so he’d have the speed for an Arkle.
Breakaway stood out on UK front
I was really impressed by The Big Breakaway at Cheltenham and although plenty of people think of him as a horse for the RSA Chase, he looks to have so much stamina and could turn about to be more of a horse for the amateur riders’ race (National Hunt Challenge Cup over 3m6f) on Champion Hurdle day. He could also have the class for an RSA and I’m sure Robbie Power will be doing all he can to tell the trainer and owners the same! He’s a lovely chaser and stood out for me at the meeting.