He proved himself a good chaser this time last year when with Joseph O’Brien , winning at Navan and when second to Envoi Allen afterwards. Things obviously didn’t go smoothly after that but he has joined us on a fair mark if we can rekindle the spark. We have been happy with him but he hasn’t run for a while and this opening run over hurdles will tell us a lot more about where we stand.
There has been a lot of talk and hype about this match-up with Energumene – and I think it could be a touch disrespectful to be ignoring the claims of last year’s First Flow, by the way – but I imagine the build-up has left all the participants involved a little cold, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, these are the days you live for when riding, but that is exactly the point. Let’s do our talking on the track and see who comes out best. And the likes of Shishkin, Energumene and First Flow all normally do, which is what makes this Grade 1 so fascinating. We couldn’t be happier with our boy, and you had to be very impressed by his comeback win from the Tingle Creek winner Greaneteen in the Desert Orchid. If Energumene or any of the opposition are good enough to beat us here, then so be it – and the Irish horse is clearly open to more improvement, as are we, which makes it all the more intriguing – but I imagine they will have had to run a hell of a race to do so. I just hope my horse runs to the level we are expecting and we know he is capable of, then we can ask no more of him.