| 8.8°C Dublin

Going to be Supa day: 'I expect to be in tune in opener while the Champion Hurdle can go to Supasundae'

 

Close

RIGHT CREDENTIALS: Supasundae‘s form is as good as anything in the Champion Hurdle today

RIGHT CREDENTIALS: Supasundae‘s form is as good as anything in the Champion Hurdle today

RIGHT CREDENTIALS: Supasundae‘s form is as good as anything in the Champion Hurdle today

The road to Cheltenham this year may have been a shade rockier than we might have thought but I was on the track yesterday morning and it is all systems go on the Cotswolds.

The racing starts with the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and I certainly wouldn't dream of swapping my horse in this race, FIDDLERONTHEROOF (1.30).

I have been in the fortunate position this season to enjoy the best of both worlds and base myself with Jessica Harrington in Ireland and also split my time with Colin Tizzard in Britain so I've been able to get a handle on the form on both sides of the Irish Sea.

In my opinion, with the exception of Envoi Allen, the British novices hurdlers are a better bunch and Fiddlerontheroof is already a Grade One winner who can get me off to the perfect start.

Winning the Supreme Novices' Hurdle is the dream start that every jockey wants and this looks a Supreme Novices' with a lot of depth but I was in Cheltenham yesterday and we got plenty of rain here which increases my confidence in his chances.

Fiddlerontheroof loves soft ground and has a lot of things in his favour. The ground will help bring his stamina into play as this will be a strongly run race.

The Joe Donnelly-owned pair of Asterion Forlonge and Shishkin look to pose the biggest danger and although I'm delighted Envoi Allen isn't here today, we'll have to take him on tomorrow.

On to the Arkle and I'd just be siding with CASH BACK (2.10) here.

I fancy Fakir D'oudairies to reverse the form with Notebook from Ireland, but I think Cash Back, on this rain-softened ground, will come and pick off the two of them.

There won't be a lot between the three of them and I'd say when you throw in Brewin'upastorm into the mix as well it will be a brilliant race to watch, but I like the look of Cash Back.

I got a good feel off him when I rode him last season and you can be sure that Willie will have left him to come cherry-ripe here, so there'll be more to come on what we've seen this season.

Paul Nolan has a good chance of a winner with Discorama and it would great to see the Nolans get another big winner here at Cheltenham but I fancy THE CONDITIONAL (2.50).

This is a horse that was once trained by Martin Hassett and has been suited by a move to England. He is a course-and-distance winner, which is a big plus, and he will really appreciate the softer ground with a lovely racing weight on his back.

I sit that race out but will be counting down to the Champion Hurdle where I ride SUPASUNDAE (3.30).

A lot has been written about this Champion Hurdle being open and competitive this year and it is hard to argue with that, but I would say that Supasundae's form is as good as anything in the race and better than most.

Last season he ran in the Stayers' Hurdle, then went to Aintree and beat Buveur D'air before finishing second to him at Punchestown.

The soft ground isn't a concern and I saw him out on the track yesterday morning and he appears to have travelled over great.

Aideen Byrne rides him out every morning and she's delighted with him and I wouldn't dare jock her off him in the mornings!

Epatante is probably the one horse in the race that is open to the potential to be top class, having impressed in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton but my lad is a dual Grade One winner over two miles already, so whatever beats him will deserve it.

I picked up a good spare ride in the Mares' Hurdle on Stormy Ireland and it's always nice to pick up rides at meetings like this for Willie Mullins.

We have managed to click a few times at the likes of Punchestown so hopefully we can do so again but I would think, if all things are equal, that Stormy Ireland will be battling for minor honours as BENIE DES DIEUX (4.10) looks to be at her very best.

I rode against her in France this season and then I rode Penhill at Gowran Park when she just breezed past us and won as she liked.

It was a very impressive display and I think she'll take all the beating and will make up for her fall in this race last year.

In the Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap Chase, I ride HIGHEST SUN (4.50) who might have a little each-way chance.

Some of his best lines of form leave him in contention here, as it is a novice race after all, and some of these will still be improving, but he'd have to bring his A-game if he is to win today.

Colin has put a tongue-tie on him today and hopefully that will help but I think Gordon Elliott's horse Galvin has a good chance in this race.

The finale today is the National Hunt Chase, which will be run over a slightly shorter distance than normal and with a clear round of jumping CAREFULLY SELECTED (5.30) should be the one to beat.

Patrick Mullins is a big plus to have on your side in a race like this and while some people have concerns about Carefully Selected's jumping, I thought he was fine in Punchestown.

There is no doubt that he didn't jump well enough in Naas, but he had to run in that race to qualify for today and it came very quick after Punchestown so he might have just been a bit flat in himself that day.

I was second to Springfield Fox one day and he's a relentless galloper who will love the conditions and should be there to pick up the pieces if anything goes wrong with Carefully Selected.

1.30 Fiddlerontheroof

2.10 Cash Back

2.50 The Conditional

3.30 Supasundae

4.10 Benie Des Dieux

4.50 Highest Sun (e/w)

5.30 Carefully Selected