I can’t wait to see Flemenstar again next season after he gained a fifth successive victory over fences in Sunday’s Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in a campaign that has included two top level wins that have elevated Meath trainer Peter Casey to celebrity status.
Casey’s charge was allowed to go off at odds against but his supporters did not have a slightest worry as he floated home an 11 length winner from Rathlin.
The Flemensfirth gelding will surely become acquainted with the unique undulations of Cheltenham next season and we cut him to 10-1 (from 20) for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
One horse who impressed me greatly recently was John Oxx’s Sharestan who landed the Irish Lincolnshire at The Curragh on the first day of the flat season.
He was a rare Lincoln runner for the Kildare wizard and despite his fears that the horse might be too inexperienced for the hustle and bustle of a race like that, Sharestan swept into the lead in the final furlong under a lovely Johnny Murtagh ride and stayed on well to master Ansaab by two and three-quarter lengths.
Oxx is renowned for his patience and that policy looks set to reap rewards with this horse as he was injured as a two-year-old and then after winning his maiden last year, he ran one more time before the trainer decided he was not completely over the injury and roughed him off.
He was well worth waiting for and won the Lincoln, a highly-competitive premier handicap, on just his third visit to the racecourse despite appearing to still be green on the run-in.
It’s my guess that this is a Group horse in the making and I’m hoping that he turns up in Sunday’s Listed Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown over a mile which seems to be his perfect trip at the moment.
He does, however, hold a few entries in races at The Curragh later in the month and May but wherever he turns up, I think he’s worth a few Euros.
Regular readers will know that I try and concentrate on Irish racing but I can’t ignore Saturday’s English Grand National and I think Treacle at 18-1 at time of writing is a bit of value, especially as we’re offering five places each-way.
My selection ran an absolute blinder in the Irish Hennessy when he put in his best ever run to finish third behind Quel Esprit. Connections were especially delighted as he was put up a stone by the handicapper and without that raise, he wouldn’t have got into the Aintree spectacular.
I’ve already written about John Oxx’s legendary patience but my fancy was actually purchased as a three-year-old for the owner Mr Nielsen with the intention of being a National horse some day.
It’s great that he’s actually got to the race now but I bet they didn’t think it would take eight years as Treacle is now 11!
He jumps and stays which is what you’ve got to do to have a chance in the National and I’d love to see this likeable chestnut come home first.
Turning to the footy it’s the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend and even though I am penning this before both Liverpool and Everton have played their early week Premier League games, I’m going to take the latter to win at current odds of 9-4.
Admittedly Liverpool beat Everton 3-0 in their last premiership win but since then confidence at the club has been dented with three league losses and a draw.
Everton have gone the other way and have only lost once in six games since the Liverpool reversal. These derby matches are often tense affairs and the blues are the form side.
Saturday 12.30pm Wembley Everton to beat Liverpool
Saturday 4.15pm Aintree Treacle
Sunday 3.25pm Leopardstown Sharestan