Monday 18 December 2017

Katie Walsh: Expect a fairytale ending for AP McCoy

AP McCoy looks on
AP McCoy looks on

Going into racing this afternoon AP McCoy was still waiting on his first winner at what is going to be his last Cheltenham Festival but regardless of what winners or losers he rides today, I genuinely think that he is set for a fairytale ending at Cheltenham in the Gold Cup tomorrow.

AP rides Irish Hennessey winner Carlingford Lough for JP McManus and trainer John Kiely and I think he’s a horse that is still improving and can make the required jump to win the race everybody dreams about.

John Kiely only has a small string of horses but anyone in the game will tell you that he is a very, very good trainer and I’m sure, like anyone who ever trained a horse to run in a National Hunt race, winning the Gold Cup is something that he would give anything to do.

People are questioning whether a Galway Plate winner can win the Gold Cup at Cheltenham but two of our leading hopes for this year’s race have come down that road and Djakadam, who I think can run into a place, has come from a Thyestes so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare out.

Carlingford Lough is just the biggest improver for me however. He ran a blinder in the Lexus and I think he was the horse everyone took out of that race and he then followed that up to win an Irish Hennessy, unfortunately at the expense of Dad’s horse Foxrock who was second!

I suppose I wouldn’t be surprised if we had an Irish 1-2-3 which has happened a few times this week but I think along with Djakadam, Many Clouds will nick a place for Oliver Sherwood.

Personally, I don’t fancy the favourite Silviniaco Conti, but obviously after his three-winners yesterday, the Paul Nicholls camp will be brimming with confidence and there’s probably no doubt he’ll be a bit shorter now on the basis that Nicholls’ horses seem to be running well.

I don’t ride in the Foxhunters, but I do like the look of a horse called Carsonstown Boy who is a bit of a price and seems to have snuck in under the radar considering he was second to Tammys Hill last year.

Colin McBratney trains this fella who was actually second to me a couple of weeks ago when I rode Last Time D’albain and that should leave him spot on coming here and if he repeats his effort of 12 months ago, he’ll certainly be there or thereabouts again.

Looking at the Triumph Hurdle and it’s hard to weigh up the juvenile hurdle form but when you see the first five home in the Fred Winter were all English trained, you have to imagine that the Triumph is probably going to be won by an English horse and I’m going to stick my head out and go with Beltor whose form appears to be solid and his win at Kempton was visually impressive.

There was still a couple of nice Irish winners yesterday with Windsor Park winning the first and Rivage D’Or in the Cross Country and I got a good spin from Dogora in that Cross Country race when we finished fourth.

It was a terrific run from the horse who was having his first run in this type of race and his owners Rich and Susannah Ricci seemed to get a great kick out of it so I’m sure he’ll be a regular now in those type of races.

He ran super when you consider it was his first time around there and he was a bit sticky at one or two early in the race but when he got into a rhythm he was brilliant.

We have got used to a lot of classy horses running in that race and maybe it wasn’t a vintage race but you can take nothing away from the winner who was the best horse on the day.

Nina was obviously unlucky when getting carried out but it’s hard to say she would have won and hopefully photographer Patrick McCann makes a speedy recovery after suffering a leg injury in the incident.

Don Poli did what we expected him to do in the RSA Chase and you’d have to imagine if he turns up here again next year, he’ll be a leading Gold Cup contender and if anything, the fact that he is a very relaxed going type of horse, he maybe surprised me a bit that he won so well.

For now, it’s all systems go for today. I’m looking forward to riding Champagne James in the Kim Muir and seeing how Foxrock runs in the Ryanair. Fingers crossed they both run their races.

Katie's Choices

1.30 Beltor

3.20 Carlingford Lough

4.00 Carsonstown Boy

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