Tuesday 20 March 2018

Jury to get verdict

Monalee looks the horse to beat but Elliott's Duty has at an each-way chance

Robbie won on Jury Duty last month and he hopes for another repeat today Pic: racingpost.com
Robbie won on Jury Duty last month and he hopes for another repeat today Pic: racingpost.com

Yesterday was certainly a frustrating afternoon at Leopardstown with Sizing John clearly not himself in the big race and it was tough to have Apple's Jade nail me so close to the line on Supasundae.

You never know in racing but we just need to get Sizing John home and regroup because we know that isn't his form and I'm sure Jessie Harrington's main focus will be to get him back right for the Gold Cup in March.

Looking ahead to today, it's a new day and looking down through my book of rides, you could make a case for each of them and I'd be happy if just one of them could click.

Obviously, it would be nice if the one that clicked was in the Grade One Neville Hotels Novice Chase, where I ride Jury Duty (1.55 e/w) for Gordon Elliott.

I've been lucky enough to have plenty of big winners this year and throughout my career but winning on Jury Duty last month had to be one of the most important winners I'll ever had.

That's because a good friend of mine, Ciarán Collins, is part of the syndicate that owns the horse and he was very sick at the time and is, sadly, no longer with us. That day meant a lot to all of us and I'm sure I'll have a bit of help from Ciarán today.

Monalee, of course, looks the horse that we have to beat. On hurdle ratings, he would have had the highest and on his chase debut at Punchestown he was very impressive so he does set a high standard. But when stepping up to Grade One level, experience counts for a lot and we've got plenty of that on our side.

Ever since Jury Duty won at Punchestown, this race has been Gordon's plan for him and by all accounts everyone in Gordon's is happy with the horse so I'm looking forward to getting back on him and I'd be very hopeful that he has an each-way chance.

If I was to put my hand on my heart and nominate my best chance on the final day at Leopardstown I think I'd have to say Someday (12.50) in the maiden hurdle.

At Fairyhouse, on his last run, he came to the third-last hurdle, stepped at it and came down, but I schooled him over hurdles last week and he seems none the worse for that.

It doesn't appear to have knocked his confidence so I'd be hopeful he can put Fairyhouse behind him today.

Ballyward is our main threat but if Someday can repeat his run behind Next Destination at Naas, we should be hard to beat.

The change of tactics certainly seemed to work a treat for Forge Meadow (1.20) at Punchestown the last day and I'd imagine that we'll adopt similar tactics today with her in the Grade Three Mares Hurdle.

Obviously, we don't know what would have happened if Let's Dance had stood up on that last run. She's going to be a tough nut to crack again today, along with her stable companion, Karalee, but I think Forge Meadow has a good chance again.

On the best of her form, Lesley Dawn (3.05 e/w) would look well handicapped in the novice handicap hurdle but she does have to get back to her best and leave Thurles behind her.

I was in Navan the last day when Lesley Dawn ran in Thurles but that was a poor run, which we can't really explain.

In her previous run before that, she was second to Dawn Shadow and I've no doubt that Lesley Dawn will appreciate the better ground and two and a half miles, so that should give her a good each-way chance.

She also has a nice racing weight on her back so ticks plenty of boxes.

The Grade One Ryanair Hurdle certainly looks to be a walk in the park for Faugheen (2.30) and we're not likely to learn anything new in that department today.

Buveur D'air did what he had to do the other day at Kempton but if I was given a choice of the two at the moment in the Champion Hurdle, I'd still be siding with Faugheen and don't expect to see anything today to change my mind.

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