Champion jockey Ruby Walsh talks exclusively to the Paddy Power Blog about his rides at Chepstow this afternoon and Paul Nicholls’ chances on a thrilling card at Aintree.
He was disappointing on his bumper debut but he’s not a bumper horse. He steps up in trip to a three-mile maiden hurdle and has schooled really well. Some of the point-to-point horses in Paul Nicholls’ yard last year didn’t live up to expectations but we’re expecting a lot more from them. We’ve had a few maiden hurdle winners in the last week and Toby is doing the same work as them and going the same way. We are hoping for a big race.
It was one run too many for Deireadh Re at the end of the season at Fakenham after a long tough year so put a line through that. Prior to that he was lucky at Cheltenham when Sea of Thunder was going to win but fell at the last and left Deireadh Re to win. He then won a decent handicap with Harry Derham riding him. He schools well, loves the trip and stays all day. He is another one with a great chance.
He schooled well on Wednesday morning and comes in with a huge reputation because he wasn’t cheap. His form in France is very good and even the horses behind him in that Grade 2 have gone on to better things. He is only a novice until the start of November so Paul was keen to run him in this race because after next week he has to run in open company. He comes in with a reputation and is doing things right at home. He has only won on very soft ground in France but he is very experienced.
This is a step up in grade and when I rode him he was disappointing. Saying that he was a good winner with Daryl Jacob in Taunton, he’s a progressive horse and Daryl was happy with the way he jumped. He’s a nice weight on his back and it’s a good pot. You have to be ahead of the handicapper to win races like this and he certainly is. This horse is ready and can go close.
He does very well fresh and won a bumper at Chepstow and a beginners chase first time out in Exeter. He’s a brave sort of horse who likes to bowl along. He runs off a four pound higher mark than when he won this race last year but we always thought he was a bit more than a handicapper so even though he is top weight we’re hoping for a bold show. He is fit and well and shows he likes the track having won there twice before.
Harry Derham takes seven pounds off Empire Levante’s back today and if he can prove that he can run a tidy race and is still capable of winning a hurdles race I’d imagine he’ll go for a bigger one. If he runs like the handicapper has him he’ll go jumping fences. He’s a strange horse. Look at his race in Newbury last year when Rock on Ruby beat him. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s a big strapping horse and his future probably lies over fences but Paul is keen to send him hurdling again.
This horse will go a long way. He loves the trip and will appreciate the step up. The Old Roan is a great race to have at this time of the year. It’s a limited handicap at the right distance of two-and-a-half miles. It suits everybody with a good horse to start off because you’re not going the extreme distance and for a first run it’s ideal. Kauto Star started there a few times himself. Pacha was a good winner at Ayr last time out, he’s a progressive horse who will love the trip and is nicely in with 10-10 on his back. He’s in with a shout in a very competitive race.
I schooled alongside him on Wednesday and he jumped really well. He gets all the allowances in this race as well. Carlito Brigante nabbed Domtaline last week at Cheltenham so Paul Nicholls will be hoping for a reverse today. Paul likes him, he does everything well and is from a good family. Getting all the allowances Unioniste should stretch Carlito all the way and can turn him over.