Carberry gains old Fallon ride
Kieren Fallon will not be following in fellow Flat jockey Jamie Spencer's footsteps by bidding to win the Grade One Champion Bumper next Wednesday having opted against riding Noel Glynn's Old McDonald, which his fellow Clare native had felt was a done deal.
However, Glynn had no problem with his late replacement as Paul Carberry will now deputise for the spare after Fallon chose to stay in Dubai and not take up the mount to the disappointment of Glynn.
"I received a text to say Kieren wouldn't be available as he's decided to stay in Dubai, which is obviously a bit disappointing," Glynn said. "Luckily for us it's worked out grand as Noel Meade hasn't got a runner in the bumper and we've got Paul Carberry booked to ride."
While Glynn was disappointed not to be teaming up with Fallon, he did admit that the late change of plan could actually work in his favour with Carberry having partnered many winners around the track including of this particular race.
"I'm delighted to have got him as he knows the course really well, so it might work out even better. His sister Nina rides my other horse Becauseicouldntsee who runs in the four-miler on the same day so hopefully it will be a family occasion and we can have a Carberry double on Wednesday."
The Champion Bumper is a race that has been farmed by Willie Mullins over the years and he has managed to win six renewals of the race and is hopeful that one of his current quartet being targeted for it can give him a seventh victory.
Last month's Fairyhouse winner, Day Of A Lifetime, is the shortest of the Mullins team in the betting for the race as he is as low as 7/1 joint second favourite with Boylesports.
"Day Of A Lifetime did it very well and had been working very well at home. He won like he was working as he had been showing lots of ability at home, so we were happy with that," Mullins admitted.
Fellow five-year-old and Fairyhouse winner and the most recent of Mullins' team to grace the winners enclosure was Bishopsfurze, who Mullins is hoping will relish the nicer ground at Cheltenham. The trainer even went as far as to make a comparison with previous race winner Cousin Vinny.
"Bishopsfurze has worked well at home and I thought he put in a very good performance at Fairyhouse. He hated the sticky ground and is really a good moving horse and a lovely mover."
Mullins continued: "Patrick said he wasn't moving at all so he just banked on getting him balanced and galloping in the straight and once he got him going he devoured the ground -- he must have made up 20 lengths -- it was reminiscent of what Cousin Vinny did at Punchestown so he's fairly good."
Up Ou That was a point-to-point winner at Punchestown and went on to win a bumper at the first time of asking by 16 lengths at Fairyhouse in January.
"He did it very well on bad ground at Fairyhouse after the big freeze," Mullins added. "He won by 16 lengths and his pedigree suggests he's going to be a better horse on better ground. He's a big galloper so I would give him a chance as well as he will improve."
Coincidentally, all four of Willie Mullins' Cheltenham bumper hopes and of course his brother Tom's Tavern Times won their bumpers at Fairyhouse and of Lios A Choill, Willie is hoping he can get him back to prime condition for next week.
"Lios A Choill won his one bumper last year and had an injury but we're going to try and get him ready for Cheltenham as well," he said. "I'd say most of them are up to standard and may be better than one or two of the winners I have had."
Mullins concluded by earmarking a couple of threats he spotted in the bumper ranks.
"I thought Shot From The Hip was very good as he went a good gallop the whole way and anything that tried to go with him he just bumped them off," he said. "To me that was a hell of a performance and anything that finished in front of him will take beating.
"Forty Foot Tom won his bumper very well in Navan and he'll improve and Al Ferof's bumper in Fairyhouse has worked out well."