Track Talk: Fleming looks ready to deliver this winter
Navan returns to hosting jump racing on Saturday and considering that it is a venue that will welcome some stars of the winter jumping game, it’s a fairly modest beginning in terms of quality but it’s early doors yet.
Even hearing Willie Mullins talk about the likes of Douvan, Faugheen and Vautour over the weekend would whet the appetite for some of the fascinating races we can look forward to when the days are bitterly cold and the evenings are extremely long but the racing is from the top drawer.
While Navan’s card on Saturday may not be a statement of things to come, I think one trainer in particular is making a fair statement of intent at the moment.
When I say trainer, it is probably fairer to say team. Alan Fleming took the decision to return home last year with a job training for leading owner Barry Connell and he enjoyed four winners from 28 runners.
Yesterday’s opening race win with Tiliver in the juvenile maiden hurdle was Fleming’s 10th winner of the season from 32 runners over jumps and his horses really are flying at the moment.
Connell enjoyed Cheltenham Festival success with Martello Tower last season and he may stick hurdling this year, while Foxrock will be primed for the staying chase division by Ted Walsh but the majority of the horses running in Connell’s yellow and blue silks will be trained at Fleming’s base on the outskirts of the Curragh and you have to think this is the season where Fleming, Connell and retained jockey Adrian Heskin are ready to make their mark on the biggest of stages.
It’s not easy to take on Willie Mullins in Ireland, of that there is no doubt, but Barry Connell is a man with a passion for his racehorses and recruiting some high class ones. If this current run of form can continue into the deeper winter months you certainly feel his best days in racing are certainly still ahead of him.