I was away for a few days last week in China as a guest of Mr Zhang Yeusheng who has a few horses with us.
I was there around the same time last year, and I have to say that in the last twelve months, they have made huge strides and I believe that China will be a major force in racing in the years to come.
They take their racing very seriously and the infrastructure that they have put in and around the racecourse is second to none. It was a great trip and Mr Zhang was a terrific host and looked after us very well.
I was back late on Sunday and I was delighted to see Riyazan make a winning debut for us in his maiden at The Curragh on Monday.
His work at home had been good and we were expecting a decent showing from him. It looked a good, through run race and our other horse Yulong Warrior (who was third), brought a good level of form into the race and Riyazan has bounced out of his race in very good form.
He won in the style of a smart horse and he’ll go to Leopardstown on Champions Day for the Golden Fleece Stakes.
There is no reason to think that he won’t be better horse next year and we’ll learn a bit more about him at Leopardstown. I’d like to think that he will improve plenty for his run at The Curragh and Pat Smullen was impressed with him.
Yulong Warrior is off now to Dubai to join his owner, Satish Seemar, who is a top trainer over there and I have no doubt that he’ll do well for his new connections.
Surrounding ran a good race at Cork on Tuesday where the ground was a bit soft for her. We’ll step her back up in trip to a mile and on better ground, she’ll be competitive the next day.
We have a few runners at Leopardstown tomorrow and Kirk’s Dancer, Vienna Circle and High Laugh all line up in the fillies maiden.
Kirk’s Dancer was placed behind Winter in a maiden at Dundalk and High Laugh was placed on her only start in England. Vienna Circle will happier back on faster ground and on a left handed track and I’d expect all three to acquit themselves well in what looks a good race.
Bowden has been working well, but he is drawn out wide in the mile and one handicap, which will make it very difficult for him. Pedisnap also runs in that race and her work at home has improved in blinkers, so hopefully they will be an addition to her.
Don Pedro was taken out at Cork on Monday on account of the soft ground and he takes his chance in the last, but he will have to run above his rating to get into the shake up.
Looking ahead to The Curragh on Sunday, I run a nice colt Andesh in the mile two year old maiden and he is a colt that we like. His work has been good and I think he’ll run a nice race.
We run two in the mile handicap, Vincy and Saltonstall.
Vincy has some good form on the all-weather at Dundalk and he will have his first run on the grass. He along with Saltonstall have pleased us at home in their work and they are ready to start off on Sunday.