BRILLIANT mare Quevega (11/10 fav) was saddled by Willie Mullins to win her third successive Ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle under jockey Ruby Walsh and was the highlight of the Punchestown festival for me.
She is a outstanding mare and will be hard to beat again at Cheltenham next year. “She is just extraordinary. She did everything Ruby asked, and was in real racing mode today,” said Mullins, who was enjoying his seventh success of the 2012 Festival.
“She has a lot of speed and we think she’s better on better ground as well.”
Asked if she would take on Big Buck’s at some point, Mullins said: “As long as he gets an entry in the mares’ race at Cheltenham! But seriously I think we will just do the same next season and why change?”
The former Arkle Chase winner Tidle Bay (9-1) ran out a 15 length winner of the bet365 Gold Cup Chase at a rain sodden Sandown on Saturday in glue-pot ground. Daryl Jacob sat as still as a church mouse coming up the hill to beat Roalco De Farges with plenty in hand.
The trainer said: “We might go to Auteuil in June. They have a hurdle race over three miles three furlongs and that might be perfect if the ground is really deep.”
Sanctuaire (9-2) won his race from the start in the Celebration Chase and is now as short as 6-1 with Ladbrokes for next seasons Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
At Kempton on Monday Jeremy Noseda landed the gamble (evens from 11-4) with the Pivotal fillie Furbelow in the 6f Maiden Fillies Stakes.
The Racing Post Trophy winner Camelot is expected to justify his short odds on Saturday at Newmarket in the 2,000 Guineas for the Aiden O ‘Brien camp.
I know the weather is sure to play a key role over the weekend but as long as it does not become a bog last years leading 2yo will be hard to beat and then go to Epsom a red hot favourite for the Derby and possibly a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The e/w selection for the 2,000 Guineas is Trumpet Major at 10-1 if you don’t fancy backing the red hot jolly Camelot.
The 1,000 Guineas on Sunday for the fillies can go to Maybe. This unbeaten 3yo has done nothing wrong since walking on a racetrack as a 2yo and I don’t think there is anything good enough to beat her.
Masked Marvel is fancied in the 2.30 Jockey Club Stakes on the Saturday for John Gosden and William Buick.
It was tough going at Yarmouth on Tuesday with Viking Rose a game winner for James Eustace. The big gamble of the day was Teacher (6-4 from 3-1) in the Handicap. It was a disappointing run on glue pot ground but I think we can give the Irish bred 3yo another chance - one for the note pad.