Katie Walsh: Faugheen machine can't be stopped
The crowds at Punchestown have been up for the first two days, which is fantastic to see, especially yesterday when there were hailstones that would knock you out falling from the skies about an hour beforehand.
But that has also had a bearing on the ground and I’d call it yielding to soft at the end of racing last night.
And it’s not going to get any better now so it’s worth considering anyone having a bet.
Tomorrow is all about the Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen, and like Un De Sceaux today, he’s a horse you want to come and just see in the flesh.
There’s so many good horses down at Willie’s now but you’d have to say that this fella is right up there now at the very top of the tree and he’ll go into tomorrow unbeaten and I’m sure leave unbeaten as well.
It’s another great opportunity to see these high-class horses and it’s what makes Punchestown so good.
The other Grade One is the two-and-a-half mile novice hurdle in which six will go to post with No More Heroes a likely non-runner and I suppose it is hard to look beyond Nichols Canyon.
Shaneshill was turned over yesterday, however, and Don Poli the day before so it can happen but Ruby obviously picked him over the likes of Sempre Medici, so he was obviously keen to ride him and must have been happy with him on the gallops so he’s hard to oppose.
I don’t ride in the Champion Hunters Chase but I’ll be keeping an eye on Last Time D’Albain who I won on at Fairyhouse and has since run a blinder at Aintree.
He was third behind On The Fringe at Aintree and I’d say that form will stand up.
It’ll be a big ask for On The Fringe, because I don’t remember a horse winning the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown Hunters Chases – and it might never have been done – but he’s won around here so many times before I don’t see what is going to beat him tomorrow.
Enda has done a great job to get him in such form because he’s just been so hard to get close to this season.
In the first race, I will be roaring on Hasty Times, who is trained by my husband Ross.
Ross had a winner on Monday at Naas and on Sunday at the point-to-point in Fairyhouse so the horses couldn’t be in better form and this lad hopefully has an each-way chance.
I’d say it’ll be hard to beat last year’s winner Rohan’s Pride and Jamie Codd, who has already had an incredible week, but Hasty Times is well and Ross is happy with him so, hopefully, it comes good.
He is owned by Peter Kavanagh of Kildaragh Stud and he’ll be ridden by his son Roderick so as well as being a local success it will be a real family occasion as well.
Yesterday Don Cossack was just unbelievable the way he won the Gold Cup and I was delighted for Gordon Elliott and Paul Carberry.
He went by the wayside last year for whatever reason but Gordon has certainly got him back to being better than ever.
He was extraordinary at Aintree and then he came and took on the second and third from the Gold Cup and they were second and third again, so that form stood up.
With all the staying chasers around next season, it’s going to be one hell of a Gold Cup next year.
Willie had another fabulous day and it’s just incredible how he can keep getting these horses to go from festival to festival and keep winning.
Killultagh Vic overturned Shaneshill and he looks a real improver.
He won the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and Willie’s past winners of that include Sir Des Champs and Don Poli, so he could be another with a very bright future.
Patrick picked the right one in the Champion Bumper as Bellshill was a fairly comprehensive winner. That was a proper run race and if they all line up in a novice hurdle next season it’ll be some race.
Bellshill is a big, good-looking horse and Patrick was up there the whole way and proved he had plenty of stamina and I’d say he’ll be a fine chaser in the future.
My horse Livelovelaugh ran a grand race and it may have just come a shade soon for him after Fairyhouse, but he’ll have many days to look forward to next season as well.
3.40 Hasty Times (e/w)
6.05 Nichols Canyon
7.45 On The Fringe