HomeHorse TrainingDavy Russell: ‘It could be very arduous to spoil the Cheltenham Competition’

Davy Russell: ‘It could be very arduous to spoil the Cheltenham Competition’

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

    The jumps season is admittedly 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 proper time, which meant the bottom was good – the entire observe was in nice situation.

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



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

    Cheltenham is such an excellent Competition that stands out by itself and at all times retains reinventing itself anyway – there’s at all times one thing new occurring, however completed very naturally. It’s just like the fella who can play cricket then flip round and play rugby equally effectively. It could be very arduous to spoil the Cheltenham Competition, it’s simply a kind of locations.

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

    There have been additionally two pony races on the cardboard on Saturday and the long run seems brilliant judging by a number of the performances from the younger jockeys in motion there.

    A successful 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 an excellent couple of days and effectively well worth the journey! The Insider was very spectacular, successful the juvenile hurdle by 17 lengths, then we additionally received their champion hurdle with a horse known as Ted Hastings, who narrowly beat an American-trained horse.

    Jumps racing may be very completely different over there – the bottom is often 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 quite a bit to adapt to, however they did so very effectively, 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 yearly 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 following massive assembly within the calendar is the Ladbrokes Competition at Down Royal in the beginning of November the place a number of English horses will probably be entered, in order that will probably be attention-grabbing. 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 effectively, 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 not too long ago.

    It’s a protracted season, nevertheless it’s all wanting actually good in the meanwhile – if it retains raining we’ll all be pleased!

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

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