Winning the BoyleSports Irish Grand National aboard Burrows Saint at Fairyhouse on Monday – and in the process giving Willie Mullins a first win in the race – was a great thrill.
We had to settle for a family takeaway in terms of celebration as we had to pick up my daughter Isabelle's pony on the way home; then it was back to work this morning and racing in the afternoon. But there’s not much racing for the rest of the week.
It was a really good performance from a six-year-old – he travelled so smoothly, jumped brilliantly and stayed strongly. The future is bright for him.
He was always travelling before just getting a bit idle between the last two fences. Isleofhopendreams was coming at him, but on his back I always felt Burrows Saint was going to find a bit more and he did.
I thought he could be ideal for the race from a couple of years ago when he won a maiden hurdle at Punchestown. He jumped really nice that day and it was the stamina he showed on nice ground. He rode like a real strong stayer.
He had a stop-start season that campaign but his runs this year have been progressive. He stepped up again yesterday and is going in the right direction.
Willie went into the race with a strong hand but it was amazing how the race fell apart. They were strung out with five to jump, which is untypical for an Irish National. Usually they are still in a heap at that part of the race.
It was a strong gallop and they got really well strung out.
The victory had been a long time coming for Willie. I joined him when I was 16, nearly 24 years ago and it's a long time not to fall out with someone.
Void Du Reve shines for the Wylies:
It has been well documented that Graham and Andrea Wylie have had some rotten misfortune with their horses in recent weeks but they are incredible sports people and it’s commendable how well they’ve take their bad luck and kept moving forward.
Voix Du Reve was a welcome big winner for them in the Grade One Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
For me, he looked like he got caught short of pace against Le Richebourg a couple of times this season and going further was always going to suit him.
I think he’d have been in the money behind Defi Du Seuil at Cheltenham last month, had we not parted company three out, and he probably would have finished upsides runner-up Lostintranslation.
That’s the kind of horse he is and he was good on Sunday.
Made can shine in France:
You can be optimistic as you want but form is always form and French Made had a fair bit of ground to make up with Gardens Of Babylon and Coeur Sublime in the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
She did turn it around, though, and as she’s had a light season maybe she will go to Punchestown for the Grade One on Saturday week.
When she goes to Auteuil in another month’s time, over an extra couple of furlongs, that will really suit her.
Altior would be my pick at Sandown:
I’ll be at home on Saturday watching the potential clash between Altior and Cyrname as we’ve nothing entered for the final day of the British jumps season at Sandown. All ours will be heading to Punchestown the following week.
Cyrname has the rating, Altior the reputation and it will be some clash if they get the rain.
If you were offering me the ride on one of them, I’d definitely be having a go on Altior! The handicapper doesn’t think so, but he must be the only one.
Supreme effort by Skelton brothers:
Finally, this week, congratulations to Dan Skelton and his team - to train 200 winners in the space of time he’s been training is a remarkable achievement.
Dan is sharp and places his horses to get the most out of them. He also had two winners at the Cheltenham Festival, with Roksana winning a Grade One.
The number of winners that Harry has for him is also incredible. They are a huge team.