Roscommon bound tomorrow so quite an early start. Beauty Of Deira runs in the 4 and up fillies maiden over 10f. You generally need a borderline stakes horse to win an Irish maiden but once the 3 year olds are kept out of them the quality dips. There are 4 or 5 in this of interest and I’d like to think we’re on the fringes of those. It’s an enormous plus to have a maiden win to a fillie’s name. This lady is quite talented and her debut effort for Hugo Palmer underlines that, she was nabbed by a quality filly that day and it was only in the last 50 yards she gave way. Her work has been excellent but I haven’t been able to work her half as much as I’d like. Fitness and freshness will be her enemies therefore and a nice run would be lovely to see.

Global Pass got off the mark at the 16th or 17th time of asking last time. He tries to back that up today. Obviously he completely lost his form last year and it’s not fully clear why that was. He was striking into himself at home and at the races and the recurring wound was difficult to manage. We have him where he has stopped doing that at home but it’s simply a case of just training him much lighter. It appears to be working. That has it’s own difficulties and he now needs to run regularly to maintain his fitness. Today’s race isn’t exactly ideal. There will be give in the ground which I’m not sure he will handle. Equally I would prefer to be sticking to a mile. Hopefully he will get away with both but it wouldn’t make sense to be taking him 2 hours to the Curragh to work him when he can pop down the road an hour and compete for a few quid. He won easier, in my opinion, than the 4lb rise suggests and to that end trip and ground notwithstanding he should be knocking on the door. Would be nice…

These 2 have had their runs and there isn’t a lot to say. Chessman is below this grade but if a race set up for him and he gets running late he may pass a good few. He handles fast ground but doesn’t recover from his races as well so the juice makes my life easier. Golden Valour was eye-catching in Navan. Finishing well from a poor position. It’s important to remember he put himself in that position by blowing the start. He’s liable to make mistakes and that draw won’t help. I imagine he’ll have to be ridden cold but I’ll leave it to Ronan. His form on testing turf is very poor and may be related to that but he was out of form at the time so we have to look at him today in these conditions. Hopefully he handles them.

Our first trip racing to the Curragh this year. I work all my horses here a couple of times before they run. It’s a well worn path. We run 3 and on the face of it they appear to be bit part players. The Alpha Man goes in the mile maiden and it’s as hot a maiden as you could hope to find. This lad is ignored as a result and to be fair his 2 placed efforts have come in much lesser races. The interesting thing with this fella is both runs were like debuts due to the lockdown enforced gap between run 1 to run 2. He appears to have improved a lot since Gowran and he will give a good account of himself. You can make a case for a load of them and maybe conclude this lad would be better waiting for a mark. I think he’ll run well. Bullish, no but he’s getting uber professional. We’ll see. Ampeson runs next and I’m sceptical of him. He shocked me one day last year by travelling like a dream in Cork and getting there to look like he might nick a big pot. I haven’t seen it since so it’s up to him to claw his way back to that. Cautious Approach was underwhelming on her first run back post lockdown. It’s not like her. She has been busy and well since. She can get herself back rolling today. It’s very competitive. Hopefully she travels, finds daylight and finishes to much better effect. She did a piece of work a few weeks ago that was better than anything she has done. I’m hopeful she can reproduce that here. She needs to.

Musalsal is back to the scene of last week’s 3rd. Everything is the same, 7f, good draw, similar opposition. With normal luck and a reproduction of last week’s run he should be there or thereabouts winning. We’re still finding out about him and he needs to have a good constitution both mentally and physically to continue showing up. He’s had an easy week, he has exercised every day and eaten well. You have to take it on trust that the wellbeing has been retained as you can’t afford to go looking for it. Hopefully he’s still there and can get rolling. 🤞

Another foray into the national hunt sphere today. Bavarian Girl runs in the ladies bumper, the last race on the card. She has the physique of a 3 mile chaser and that was why we went down the point to point route with her. I trained her like a flat horse for that day and she jumped like a flat horse that had never seen a fence, turning a somersault at the first. I turned her back quick and again she was brain dead, getting no further than the first. We are trying to get her foot on the ladder today. Colm who owns her, works here and he only peddles in nice horses. She wouldn’t have been kept if we didn’t see something in her. We’ve had to tone down the work load and the pace of things to give her every chance of giving herself a chance. She’ll run away fine if she settles and she’s talented enough to do something. She will probably need it but should be well capable of finishing in front of the middle of them. We’ll see.

Just a brief word on Musalsal who runs at 6.35. He went too hard and faded late on over 6f 10 days ago. This is 7f and if he needed it he will improve for more patient tactics and the run and should be competitive. I got caught with this lad in that we were looking at him too long in lockdown. It didn’t change the fact he hasn’t really done anything in his life and I should have been taking the opportunity to learn about him over his first few runs. I’ve wound my neck in now and while everything points to him being competitive I’m not going to be throwing my toys out of the pram if there’s more to be figured out. We’ll see…..

We have 2 today. The Alpha Man runs in the 9 1/2f maiden in Gowran. He needs to step forward from his 1st run. He can improve a lot for that experience. This is tougher so he needs to be better. Lockdown prevented him rolling on to his 2nd run 2 to 3 weeks after his 1st. That would have been ideal. Global Pass is well drawn closer to home in Limerick. His Leopardstown 3rd is good enough to be there or thereabouts especially given his draw that evening. He’ll have to be ridden to nick it. Hopefully he can back up quickly and do just that. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Dean Street Doll at Ascot. I’ll have to have €50 quid on her. It’ll assist with counselling if she can pull it off!

Week one down and an OK week for us but a great week for Irish racing. Great to see the show back on the road. Aidan has hit the ground running and appears to have been moving through the gears during lockdown. It’s amazing how he can miss the entire period when his horses are traditionally finding their feet and come out the other end all guns blazing. Facilities and no end of talent, both human and horse, makes life easier. Siskin’s Guineas win was terrific. Obviously a feather in the cap for the team behind him but that was a real gear that he showed on Friday. He’s an exciting horse regardless of who has him. We ticked along fine and I was happy away with all our runners bar one. They’re needing it a little and things could have fallen better for a couple. They’ll be fine if they progress and they get the bounce of the ball. We run 3 tomorrow and it’s hard to get excited about the first 2. Ampeson runs in the maiden and on his best form should finish 3rd or 4th but he’s difficult to predict. He had a heavy schedule both at home and at the races at 2 and I was keen to give him an easier time this year. I wanted to allow him build through a few races and keep him a bit happier and fresher. He was showing nothing on that schedule. His behaviour was poor, his weight was poor and his work was dreadful. We had to up his daily routine as a result and he has improved. His weight has come right, he has worked OK and he has been a lot more focused. I had very little insight in to him last year, I don’t expect to have much more this year. He could pull my trousers down tomorrow but I just have to not let him vex me. Littleton Hall was poor last Wednesday and if he continues in that vein, I’m in trouble. He showed less than nothing. He wasn’t with the program from the moment he left the yard. He screeched and roared all the way to the races and at the track his eyes were on stalks. Hopefully the day just passed him by and he can show a bit more tomorrow. I’m clutching at straws I’m aware but he can’t be that bad or can he? Cautious Approach goes next and she’s one to look forward to. It’s a competitive race but she’s a competitive lady and she should run her race. I think she will improve her rating over the coming months. She can race lazily now which opens up options at anything up to 2 miles. I’m in no rush up to those trips but tomorrow will tell us if we still have options at 12 furlongs. I haven’t seen a ground update but she’s best on fast ground.

A puncture on the way home from racing, a real thrill. Making a long day longer. An older gentlemen stopped to enquire if I needed assistance. His jack was better than mine, then he followed me to a garage to make sure I got sorted and then offered to follow me an hour out of his way in case I had further trouble. This is a great country. A smoother run to and from Navan would be nice. We go with 2. A couple of years ago I received a phone call, someone enquiring about buying a 3 year old filly I had. I told him to forget about it, she was no good and we’d find something else. We did and we’ve had bits and pieces of luck together and he’s a good owner and friend. The filly was useless and I think he appreciated the attempted honesty. The other side of that coin was Beach Bar. When I got him first, I received a few enquiries for my half share. He was a lunatic, I couldn’t recommend him and put everyone off. When he won 4 races over the following 12 months I’m sure there was plenty of head scratching and profanities. The point being it’s very difficult to know. The best scenario when pulling together ownership is gather together people and figures and source your horse thereafter. This brings me to Littleton Hall. He runs in the 5f sprint handicap. I bought him to syndicate him. It didn’t happen immediately. There have been expressions of interest but I don’t know where I sit with the horse himself. I’ve been happy with him at different times and less so at others. I’ll run him and if he shows enough and people are still interested I’ll syndicate him for what he has cost me. If he shows little I’ll stomach him and have him as a lead horse or for Dundalk. He’s grand, some of his 2 year old form is poor and some of it, well one bit, is OK. If he travels and finishes in the middle of them tomorrow then I’ll be happy. He had one bit of work but it was unsatisfactory as his work partner was very green and it told us very little. He should improve plenty. A boring ramble about a modest horse, wouldn’t be a first for me. Golden Valour runs in the last, a competitive handicap. He has little or no turf form and that is the doubt. Is he better on synthetics? The handicapper says so and he’s right plenty. However if he is the same horse as 89 days ago then he’s 5lbs well in and should run well. He worked with Chessman last week and pushed him to a neck. The video is on a previous post. That’s good work by any measure, hopefully he carries it through. Finding horses to take you to a big day is hard, we have very few possibles but he’s one. Tomorrow should tell us plenty. No punctures tomorrow please, not least our ambitions for this fella.

2017 Richard O'Brien Racing Limited