Davy Russell: ‘It might be very exhausting to spoil the Cheltenham Pageant’

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  • Prime jumps jockey Davy Russell on the four-day assembly, new jumps and profitable within the USA

    The jumps season is basically beginning to get going and it was marvellous to be again at Cheltenham for his or her Showcase assembly and to get a winner out of it, too. The rain got here at simply the fitting time, which meant the bottom was excellent – the entire monitor was in nice situation.

    There was good racing over the 2 days and we had been supplied with a number of hints for the Pageant there in March, equivalent to Saturday’s bumper winner, Encanto Bruno, skilled in Eire by John McConnell, and Charles Byrnes’ profitable hurdler Shoot First – and even my winner within the novices’ chase, Chemical Power. All three are prone to have engagements on the Cheltenham Pageant, so having been there and seen all of it can solely be a bonus.



    Speaking of the Pageant, the choice was introduced final week that the occasion could be sticking to its four-day format, moderately than extending to 5 days as had been proposed. The individuals who make these choices know what they’re speaking about, so if they are saying 4 days is greatest, I’m pleased to go together with that. But when they mentioned 5, and even let’s return to 3, I’d be effective with that, too.

    Cheltenham is such a brilliant Pageant that stands out by itself and at all times retains reinventing itself anyway – there’s at all times one thing new happening, however executed very naturally. It’s just like the fella who can play cricket then flip round and play rugby equally nicely. It might be very exhausting to spoil the Cheltenham Pageant, it’s simply a kind of locations.

    This was the primary time that every one Cheltenham’s hurdles and fences featured the brand new white guard rails and take-off boards. I don’t assume they’re actually mandatory and we nonetheless have the orange-style jumps in Eire, however it’s no large deal. Some horses definitely look twice at them, however that may be solved with education over them at residence.

    There have been additionally two pony races on the cardboard on Saturday and the long run seems to be vivid judging by among the performances from the younger jockeys in motion there.

    A profitable double within the USA

    Earlier than Cheltenham, I used to be racing in America. Gordon Elliott despatched out three runners for the Far Hills race assembly in New Jersey and two of them received and the opposite was third, so it was a brilliant couple of days and nicely well worth the journey! The Insider was very spectacular, profitable the juvenile hurdle by 17 lengths, then we additionally received their champion hurdle with a horse referred to as Ted Hastings, who narrowly beat an American-trained horse.

    Jumps racing may be very totally different over there – the bottom is normally fairly fast, though there was a little bit of rain about this yr, the type of racing is exclusive and the jumps are plastic and spongy, a bit larger than French hurdles. Our horses had rather a lot to adapt to, however they did so very nicely, fortunately. The assembly is run much like a point-to-point in that it’s solely arrange for the day, with the racecourse solely used annually for this assembly, and the weighing room is a tent.

    We attempt to go over for this assembly at Far Hills in addition to Nashville yearly and we’ve had some success there earlier than, so it was nice to be again.

    It’s nonetheless early days, however…

    The subsequent large assembly within the calendar is the Ladbrokes Pageant at Down Royal at first of November the place a number of English horses might be entered, in order that might be fascinating. Then we’re again to Cheltenham, earlier than Fairyhouse, and that’s us in full swing for the season.

    It’s nonetheless early days, however all of the horses from final yr appear to have began the method nicely, with the likes of final yr’s star bumper American Mike in nice form, and Cheltenham winner Galvin got here out and received at Punchestown lately.

    It’s a protracted season, however it’s all trying actually good in the mean time – if it retains raining we’ll all be pleased!

    • This unique column may also be obtainable to learn in Horse & Hound journal, publication date Thursday 27 October 2022

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