Tag Archive for: Robbie Power

Robbie Power to retire after racing at Punchestown on Friday

Robbie Power announced he will be retiring on Friday after partnering Magic Daze to victory at the Punchestown Festival on Thursday.

Power, 40, who has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Grand National and the Irish Grand National among a host of other major races, has suffered badly with injury in recent years.

Having returned from a lengthy absence with a back injury in January 2021 he was then out between October last year and January 2022 when he fractured his hip.

Robbie Power celebrates after his Gold Cup victory with Sizing John
Robbie Power celebrates after his Gold Cup victory with Sizing John (David Davies/PA)

Winners have been hard to come by since his return – but he almost went out in style when finishing second in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Minella Indo.

He looked as good as ever on Henry de Bromhead’s Magic Daze in the Pigsback.com Handicap Chase, but confirmed his final ride will be on Gordon Elliott’s Teahupoo in the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle.

Power, who thanked Jessica Harrington for being his biggest supporter throughout his career, has also enjoyed success with Elliott and had a short spell in the UK with Colin Tizzard.

He won the Grand National on Elliott’s Silver Birch in 2007, the Gold Cup on Harrington’s Sizing John in 2017 and the pair doubled up to win the Irish National with Our Duke in the same season.

Robbie Power with Colin Tizzard following Fox Norton's win at Punchestown in 2017
Robbie Power with Colin Tizzard following Fox Norton’s win at Punchestown in 2017 (Niall Carson/PA)

That was arguably Power’s best ever campaign as it also saw him link up with Tizzard to win three Grade Ones at the Grand National meeting with Pingshou, Fox Norton and Finian’s Oscar. Fox Norton and Sizing John would also win at Punchestown to cap an amazing two months.

Unfortunately for Power a downturn in Tizzard’s form coincided with his injury troubles and he moved back home. But Tizzard was responsible for his last Grade One winner, Fiddlerontheroof in the 2020 Tolworth Hurdle.

Power said: “It’s down to the injuries. I had my back operated on last summer, got back in October and then I fractured my hip. I’m 41 next month and I’m not getting any younger. I had injections in my hip but it didn’t really work.

“The whole family are coming tomorrow and I’ve got a couple of good rides left. My wife knew and my agent knew, but my father always told me if you tell one person you’ve told one person too many so I was trying to keep it as quiet as possible.

Silver Birch was a famous winner for Robbie Power
Silver Birch was a famous winner for Robbie Power (David Davies/PA)

“There’s been several days I’ve woke up thinking this was it. If I’d won the Gold Cup I’d have gone then, but Punchestown has been lucky for me so to go here, where I rode my first winner and now I’m guaranteed to ride my last one here, that will do.

“It’s a relief to announce it, as even this morning my agent was asking me if I was sure. I wanted to go out on something of a high but I have to do exercises every morning just to enable me to ride.

“I’ve been doing it 21 years and if someone said I’d ride the winners I have I’d have taken it. To ride for Jessica Harrington basically my whole career, I’ve been very lucky. She took me under her wing and nearly all my big winners were for her.

“She stood by me through all the highs and lows and has been an unbelievable mentor to me.”

Of Magic Daze, who was a two-and-a-quarter-length scorer from Mt Leinster at 3-1, Power added: “We were very disappointed coming out of Galway when she got beaten, but she got beaten by Noble Yeats and Gabynako so the form worked out quite well.

“She’s progressed nicely, she probably didn’t run her race at Cheltenham in the Arkle but back in handicap company today, on nice ground, she jumped off and never missed a beat.

“She jumped from fence to fence, she’s free-going but you don’t have to worry about giving her a breather as she gives herself breathers. She’s an easy ride.”

Power backing Time To Get Up to make Irish National impact

The BoyleSports Irish Grand National takes centre stage at Fairyhouse on Monday and Robbie Power is looking forward to trying to win the race for a second time aboard Jonjo O’Neill’s raider Time To Get Up.

O’Neill is no stranger to success in the three-mile-five-furlong marathon, having saddled Butler’s Cabin (2007) and Shutthefrontdoor (2014) to claim success on Easter Monday.

The €270,000 first prize would be suitable compensation for his latest challenger, who missed out on a place in the Grand National at Aintree as the nine-year-old was not qualified.

Power partnered 9-2 favourite Our Duke to an emphatic victory in the 2017 Irish National and the 40-year-old is optimistic that last year’s Midlands Grand National winner can hold his own.

“I’m looking forward to it, he won a Midlands National at Uttoxeter so the trip won’t be a problem and it’s a lovely spare ride to pick up,” said Power.

“He has an outside chance, the ground won’t be an issue for him, so I think he will do OK.”

Cheltenham Festival 2022 – Day Two – Cheltenham Racecourse
Robbie Power rides Time To Get Up in the Boylesports Irish Grand National (Steve Paston/PA)

This year’s race comes just nine days after Aintree – and with some of the 30-strong field attempting to take in both contests, Power is unsure a trip to Merseyside is the best way to prepare for an Irish National, highlighting one from Willie Mullins’ all-conquering string as the horse with the ideal profile for the race.

“I always think it is very hard to win an Irish Grand National as an afterthought, its usually a plan that is hatched at least a couple of months before,” he explained.

“The likes of Enjoy D’allen, Mount Ida and Run Wild Fred were all trained for the English Grand National, it just didn’t really happen for them on the day and it’s very hard to bounce back, even if like some of them, they exited the race really early at Liverpool.

“The Irish Grand National is a race where you can make a case for a number of different horses, but Gaillard Du Mesnil is the one who ticks a lot of boxes.

“He’s a novice, he was a dual Grade One-winning hurdler. His form over fences probably hasn’t been what connections might have thought it would be at the beginning of the season, but he comes into this in decent form and he’s the outstanding novice in the race that might have a bit up his sleeve.”

Punchestown Festival – Day Four
Gaillard Du Mesnil ridden by Paul Townend on their way to winning the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown (Brian Lawless/PA)

Aintree produced a fairytale ending to Sam Waley-Cohen’s riding career, and Power believes there could be another feel-good story at Fairyhouse if either Max Flamingo or Full Time Score could land the spoils.

He said: “The fairytale in the race would be Max Flamingo for Francis Casey. He was a good winner at Thurles last time and must have a big chance, with the other being Full Time Score for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore, who have been winning nearly everything for the last year or so.

“He was a good winner at Fairyhouse and this race looks to have been mapped out for him. Chris Jones, the owner, is local, so it would be a nice success for him.”

Power has won some of the biggest prizes in the sport over a long and distinguished career, but the Irish Grand National is still a day that gets the juices flowing for a rider who lives just 15 minutes from the course.

“I’m local to Fairyhouse and for me, without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the most important race on the Irish National Hunt calendar,” he said.

“It always falls on Easter Monday and it’s one of the races that every jockey wants to win.

“Thankfully I’ve been lucky enough to do it. I would love to do it again and with BoyleSports’ sponsorship of it and €500,000 in prize-money, it is right where it should be as the richest race in Ireland.

“It’s a real quality race, bottom rated is 137, so that tells you how good a race it is.”

Robbie Power celebrates with Our Duke
Robbie Power celebrates with Our Duke (Niall Carson/PA)

Having landed the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Jessie Harrington’s Sizing John, the trainer and rider combined for more success that spring when Our Duke was an easy 14-length winner of this race – a day that will live long in the memory for Power.

He said: “It’s right up there with some of the biggest days I’ve had.

“You get a huge thrill out of winning any of those big races – Grand National, Gold Cup – but I got an electric kick out of winning the Irish Grand National on Our Duke because it’s my local course and it was a plan that had been hatched at Christmas after he won his Grade One.

“The owners didn’t want to go to Cheltenham and this was the race they wanted to win, so it was huge.

“He was well backed on the day and the race couldn’t have gone more perfectly. He just travelled and jumped everywhere with me and I got a huge kick out of it as I had all my family and friends there on the day.”

It has been at times a testing 2021/22 campaign for Power, who spent the majority of the early part of the season sidelined through injury.

However, since his return to the saddle he has been called upon for the ride on 2021 Gold Cup-winner Minella Indo and the rider says it is the good horses that keep spirits high on the dark days of rehabilitation and recovery.

“When you’re off injured and you’re fighting to get fit, that’s what you’re fighting for – horses like Minella Indo to ride on these big days and races like the Gold Cup and Irish Grand National,” he said.

“They are the reasons you fight so hard to get back, especially at my age. It was hard work, it was torturous at times, but with the help of Enda King (physio) and knowing you’ve got some really nice horses to ride, that’s what spurs you on to get back.”

It is clearly the big days that keep Power coming back for more and he is in no rush to hang up his saddle with the rides on Minella Indo and leading hurdler Teahupoo still on the table.

He said: “As long as the fire keeps burning, I’ll keep riding.

“I was given a very good bit of advice a very long time ago by Harry Rogers who said ‘ride for as long as possible, because once you stop, you’ll have to start working’, so I’m going to keep going as long as I have good horses to ride and the fire is still going in my belly.”

With his own fire still roaring, Power will be hoping it is Time To Get Up that lights up Fairyhouse on Monday afternoon.

:: Robbie Power was speaking exclusively via BoyleXtra, where he works as a brand ambassador.

Gallant Minella Indo loses little in Gold Cup defeat

Minella Indo made a gallant bid to defend his Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup crown, but had no answer to the blistering burst that Rachael Blackmore conjured up on A Plus Tard, who scored by a runaway 15 lengths.

Off a modest early pace, the nine-year-old held every chance turning for home, and went four lengths clear approaching the penultimate fence in the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile showpiece.

Yet last year’s scorer soon had his stablemate looming large and Robbie Power was helpless when Blackmore pushed the button on A Plus Tard, who went upsides before the last and galloped well clear after it.

While there was joy for Henry de Bromhead, who saddled the first two in the race for the second year in succession, it was a case of what might have been for Minella Indo’s jockey Robbie Power – who won the race in 2017 with Sizing John.

He said: “No excuses. He has run a cracker. He jumped brilliantly the whole way and travelled beautifully.

“I thought off the bend, going to the second last, he quickened and I thought we would go and win the race, but we were just beaten by a better horse on the day. We have no excuses.”

Protektorat, having his first run since early December, thrilled his trainer Dan Skelton, taking third place by a nose from Galvin under a fine ride from Harry Skelton.

Though beaten 17 and a half lengths by the winner, he may have been closer, but for a mistake at the last.

Skelton said of his charge, who is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson: “I’m massively pleased with that as, to be honest, he shouldn’t have even been third given the mistake he made at the last.

“He showed great tenacity to hold on for third and that proved he stays.

“For a minute, turning in, I thought we could nearly win as we were upsides A Plus Tard at the second-last, but we’ve no excuses, he jumped beautifully apart from the last.

“Given what the winner did, we couldn’t have won but to hold on for third given that mistake, I’m proud of him.

“He’s only seven, we’ll be back next year. A Plus Tard was beaten in it last year and came back and won. There used to be a big thing about horses not being able to win the Gold Cup at their second attempt, but Native River did it and now A Plus Tard has.

Sir Alex Ferguson watching the Gold Cup
Sir Alex Ferguson watching the Gold Cup (Joe Giddens/PA)

“I think we’ve got a pound or two improvement to come, but in the Gold Cup little things matter. Wednesday’s rain coming today would have been a huge help, but that is how sport goes.

“I’m not grumbling. He’s run an outstanding race and belongs in this grade. If we run again it will be Aintree as he won’t go right-handed.

“It was a classy race this year, with six or seven still in with a chance going to two out. I just felt if we’d got that rain and it became a slog, that might have suited us more.”

Harry Skelton echoed his brother’s sentiments and added: “He ran really well. We are very proud of him. I thought three out that we might have a real chance, but we could not have asked for any more. The winner was very good.”

Robbie Power rules out Christmas comeback

Robbie Power is now aiming to return from injury in the middle of January after ruling out a Christmas comeback.

The Irish jump jockey suffered multiple injuries in a fall at Tramore in October just 11 days after being back in the saddle following four months on the sidelines recovering from back surgery.

Power broke his nose, cheekbone, tore tendons in his arm and fractured his hip when unshipped from Hans Gruber in a maiden hurdle.

“It’s been a very frustrating six months,” Power told BoyleSports.

“I got the back surgery done and that all worked out, and I was only back 11 days and got the fall at Tramore.

“I fractured my hip and it has been so frustrating. I was back with my hip surgeon in Santry on Wednesday and, unfortunately, I’m not going to make Christmas, which is just more frustration.

“It’s going to take a while longer for the fracture in my hip to heal, so it looks like it will be the middle of January before I’m back on a racecourse.

“I’m starting physio next week with Enda King in Santry, so we will see how that progresses over the coming weeks. We can work hard on it and see how it goes.”

It will be the first time in his 20-year career Power has missed riding at Christmas.

“I’m 20 years riding and this is the first time to miss Christmas, but I’m thankful for the little things in life, as I will get to spend Christmas with the family for a change,” he went on.

“It’s frustrating, but there’s so much great racing to look forward to. I will aim to come back for maybe the Thyestes in Gowran Park. Then we have the Dublin Racing Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Fairyhouse at Easter for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National and Punchestown, so loads to focus on and look forward to.”

Power hoping to be back in action for Christmas

Robbie Power is targeting a Christmas comeback after suffering multiple injuries in a fall at Tramore last month.

Power spent four months on the sidelines over the summer after undergoing back surgery, making a successful return aboard Gin On Lime in a Grade Three Novice Chase at Tipperary on October 3.

However, 11 days later he was unshipped from Hans Gruber in a maiden hurdle with a catalogue of issues keeping him out of action since.

He said: “I got unseated at the third-last in Tramore and the horses coming behind did the damage. I got plenty of kicks – in the face, in the hip and the damage done to the arm was probably in the fall.

“I broke my nose, cheekbone, tore a tendon in my arm and fractured my hip.

“Everything is healing up. The arm is fine now and I got the splint off recently.

“The hip was the slow one and I’m just waiting on seeing a specialist on December 8. Hopefully he’ll give me the all-clear.

“I’m aiming to be back for Christmas so fingers crossed.”

Echoes In Rain impresses with Fairyhouse victory

Echoes In Rain scooted to a wide-margin victory in the Paddy Kehoe Suspended Ceilings Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare was bidding for her second successive victory at Grade Two level following a comprehensive display at Naas last month and could hardly have been more impressive in the hands of Paul Townend.

Anchored at the rear of the field for much of the two-mile journey, the keen-going five-year-old made ground to move onto the heels of the leaders before the home turn.

While her rivals were hard at work, Echoes In Rain was still full of running early in the straight under a motionless Townend – and once given her head, she readily pulled 15 lengths clear.

Mullins, winning the race for a seventh time from the last eight runnings, also saddled the runner-up M C Muldoon.

He said: “She’s got plenty of talent, but she just needs to settle. She’s settling and learning all the time.

“We didn’t want to bring her to Cheltenham for the Mares’ Hurdle because I thought she might boil over.

“In better races you can settle her in behind a bit more.

“She’s improving all the time, so we’ll go on to Punchestown now.”

Ashdale Bob jumps the final flight in front at Fairyhouse
Ashdale Bob jumps the final flight in front at Fairyhouse (Niall Carson/PA)

There was a far tighter finish to the other Grade Two on the card – the Colm Quinn BMW Novice Hurdle.

With 4-5 favourite Gentlemansgame a little disappointing in third, it was left to Jessica Harrington’s 10-1 shot Ashdale Bob and 12-1 chance Decimation to fight out a thrilling finish.

No quarter was given by either horse or jockey, but it was Ashdale Bob who edged a neck ahead at the line under Robbie Power.

Townend taken to hospital for a precautionary X-ray on his foot after fall from Egality Mans.

Kate Harrington, assistant to her mother, said: “We’re delighted with that. Robert said it was pure class that got him through it.

“He’s grown a lot since Christmas and is only starting to fill his frame. He’s going to be a lovely horse for next season.

“We’ll have a chat to mum and the owners, but I imagine we’ll probably leave him at that for this season – he could be a very exciting horse going over a fence next year.”

Harrington and Power doubled up with Jungle Junction in the following BoyleSports Novice Handicap Chase, while El Barra (5-4 favourite) had earlier won the Ryan’s Cleaning, Waste And Recycling Maiden Hurdle for the Mullins-Townend combination.

El Barra delighted favourite backers in the opening race
El Barra delighted favourite backers in the opening race (Niall Carson/PA)

The champion trainer’s assistant, David Casey, said: “The ground was nice for him and he was able to dictate in front

“He ran a bit keen in Leopardstown and disappointed, and probably the same a little bit in Naas.

“We dropped him back to two miles in Navan and he ran well. He’s putting it together.

“I’d imagine he’ll be over fences next season.”

Wild Shot finished fourth in the race, but was banned from running for 60 days and his rider Dylan Browne suspended for 21 days after the stewards ruled he had not gained the best possible placing at a subsequent inquiry.

Dark Raven was an impressive winner
Dark Raven was an impressive winner (Niall Carson/PA)

Following the success of Janidil in the Underwriting Exchange Gold Cup Novice Chase, Dark Raven made it four on the day for the Mullins team with victory in the closing Tattersalls Ireland George Mernagh Memorial Sales Bumper.

Sent off the 4-7 favourite, he hacked up by 11 lengths in the hands of Patrick Mullins.

Teahupoo prevails as Youmdor crashes out at Fairyhouse

Teahupoo came out on top in a dramatic ITM Virtual Stallion Trial Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The Willie Mullins-trained Youmdor looked a big threat when he loomed alongside Teahupoo (4-1) at the final flight, only for the 4-9 favourite to come down.

That left Gordon Elliott’s runner to win as he liked by 15 lengths in the hands of Robbie Power and make a winning debut for the County Meath handler. Teahupoo had won his only start for French trainer Gabriel Leenders at Auteuil in October.

Druid’s Altar was second with Autumn Evening half a length away in third.

“He’s a nice horse. Obviously we had a lot of luck on our side there with Willie’s horse going at the last,” said Elliott.

“I said to Robert ‘you were definitely beat’, but he said ‘I’m not so sure because my horse galloped from the last to the line’.

“He said he could see about three strides away from the last that (Paul) Townend’s horse was just starting to be squeezed along. I thought Willie’s horse would have won and we had luck on our side.

“He’s probably more of a stayer next year than a two-miler. I loved the way he put his head out and galloped from the last to the line.”

Teahuphoo was cut to 14-1 from 25-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Betfair, who left Youmdor unchanged at 14s.

Roseys Hollow (10-11 favourite) showed a neat turn of foot between the last two flights to run out a ready winner in division one of the Follow Fairyhouse ‘Racing From Home’ Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.

The Jonathan Sweeney-trained seven-year-old quickened nicely for Mark Walsh to open up a crucial advantage and the JP McManus-owned mare galloped on strongly to score by four lengths from main market rival Global Equity.

It was a poignant first winner of the year in Ireland for McManus, who suffered the tragic loss of his daughter-in-law Emma on December 30 at the age of 40.

“It was very good and it’s great to get it,” said Sweeney.

“It’s great for JP and his family in tragic times. I pass on my deepest sympathies to them. 

“She jumped well, travelled, did everything well and Mark was happy.

“We’ll get over today and I’ll have a chat with Frank (Berry). He’ll talk to JP and see what the plan is. She’s a nice mare.”

La Chanteuse (10-1) caused a minor upset in division two when flooring the 8-11 favourite Manitopark Aa.

JJ Slevin pushed the Stuart Crawford-trained seven-year-old into the lead before the second-last flight and went on to score by six lengths. Norwigi was 16 lengths back in third place.

“We’ve always thought plenty of her. On her first run back at Down Royal, Ben (Crawford) rode her and he was disappointed with her,” said Crawford.

“She probably really needed it as she blew up halfway around. She came here today and obviously has come on a good bit from it.

“JJ gave her a good ride and it’s great to get it, they are hard to win.”

He added: “We were disappointed not to get a bit of black type with her in her bumpers. We didn’t sell her, and she’s owned by my mother, so there is a bit of extra pressure on.

“She’s entitled to take her chance in a better race. We could go across the water for a novice, but at this point in time we’d probably be trying for a bit of black type.”

Aramax gave Elliott a double after the victory of Teahupoo when scoring in the McManus silks in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.

The 14-1 chance defeated the 8-11 favourite Port Stanley by two and a half lengths in the hands of Keith Donoghue.

“He won the Fred Winter (at Cheltenham) last year. Keith said he got an awful lot of confidence from the last day and he was a different horse. He was happy,” said Elliott.

“It’s great to get him back winning with him being a Cheltenham winner the year before.”

Gerri Colombe (8-13 favourite) gave Elliott a treble with an easy success in the Racing Again January 30th (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.

A point-to-point winner for Colin Bowe, the £240,000 purchase looked an exciting prospect when scorching home by 24 lengths under Jamie Codd.

“He’s a nice horse. He’s probably going to be a big chaser more than anything, a big staying horse down the road. We like him,” said Elliott.

“I don’t think you’ll see a whole lot more of him this season, he might have one more run. Obviously I’ll have to talk to Brian (Acheson), but these horses are all bought for the future. He’s one for down the road.”

When asked if he could be a Cheltenham horse, he added:- “If I put my hand on my heart I’d probably say it just mightn’t be the right thing to do, but obviously I’ll have to speak to the owner.”

Gerri Colombe was introduced at 14-1 for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham with Betfair.

Magic Of Light cruises to Listed hat-trick at Newbury

Magic Of Light opened her account for the season in impressive fashion as she completed a hat-trick of wins in Newbury’s Pertemps Network Mares’ Chase.

Last year’s Grand National runner-up barely had to get out of second gear to continue her dominance of the extended two-mile-seven-furlong Listed race, justifying odds of 1-2 in the three-runner field.

The Jessica Harrington-trained nine-year-old put in a bold round of jumping from the front under Robbie Power before cruising home eight lengths clear of Sensulano, who blundered her chance away with a costly mistake at the second last.

Power said: “It’s hat-trick complete. It’s fantastic.

“She feels as she good as when she won it for the first time, if not better. She travelled super and jumped super. She didn’t put a foot wrong the whole way round.

“I gave her a breather after the last one out of the back straight and I just rolled on to the cross fence.

“She just loves jumping. She pricks her ears, and you know she is watching what she is doing because she is concentrating on her fences. She is a joy to ride.”

Magic Of Light (second right) is expected to return to Aintree this season
Magic Of Light (second right) is expected to return to Aintree this season (Nigel French/PA)

The Gold Cup-winning jockey reported the nature of the race suited Magic Of Better much better than 12 months ago – when she appeared briefly to have a real fight on her hands against Field Exhibition, who was a length down when departing at the final fence.

He added: “It suited me a bit better today, because last year I had no company over the first couple of fences and she was very idle in front.

“Today I had a bit of company over the first couple of fences, and it just got her racing. That made my job a lot easier than 12 months ago.”

Magic Of Light, who was cut to 25-1 for this season’s Grand National by Paddy Power, will tread a familiar path back to Aintree – with her jockey confirming next month’s Grade Two Warfield Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot, which she has also won for the past two years, will be the aim.

He added: “At the end of the day the Grand National is the main target at Aintree in April.

“It is a nice plan for her we have used the last couple of years. She will come back at the end of January for the three-mile hurdle at Ascot.

“That’s the plan we have used, and it has worked so far, so if it ain’t broke don’t fix. It’s ideal if we can get her to Aintree with loads of confidence under her belt.”

Magic Of Light seeks Newbury hat-trick

Grand National runner-up Magic Of Light will bid for a third successive victory in the Pertemps Network Mares’ Chase at Newbury.

Jessica Harrington’s charge claimed Wednesday’s Listed prize and a Grade Two over hurdles at Ascot a couple of seasons ago, before going on to find only Tiger Roll too strong in the world’s most famous steeplechase at Aintree.

The nine-year-old completed the same Newbury-Ascot double last term, to set up another National bid, but the Aintree spectacular was ultimately cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Magic Of Light finished a well-beaten fourth on her return to action in a hurdle race at Punchestown last month, but will be a warm order to get back on the winning trail at Newbury under Robbie Power.

Harrington said: “She’s going for the hat-trick and has travelled over great. I just don’t want too much rain – that’s my only worry.

“The ground was heavy for her comeback run at Punchestown, and she was running over a distance much too short for her, but it was grand.

“The Grand National is the plan again, all being well.”

Magic Of Light faces just two rivals, in the Noel Williams-trained Sensulano and Carrolls Milan from Fergal O’Brien’s yard.

Sensulano was actually runner-up to Magic Of Light at Ascot in January, but has a mountain to climb on official ratings in their latest clash – with Carrolls Milan even more up against it.

Power and Lacey combine for Doncaster doubles

Trainer Tom Lacey teamed up with Robbie Power for a double with L’Incorrigible and Vado Forte at Doncaster.

Power had an instant reward for a rare visit to Town Moor when taking the opening bet365 Novices’ Hurdle on L’Incorrigible, who had been on the sidelines since winning a Warwick bumper in November 2018.

The five-year-old shrugged off his long absence to make a successful hurdles’ debut in encouraging fashion.

Always prominent, L’Incorrigible (100-30) was four and three-quarter lengths too good for Percy’s Word. Jack Sharp was a promising third three-quarters of a length away.

Lacey said: “He’s just a good horse. Any idiot can train a good horse. We’re just fortunate to have him.

“Obviously he’s had his problems. He had a stress fracture, then he had a tiny fracture of his pelvis. He’s been off a long time and his owners have been so patient, so it’s a grateful reward.

“We’ll give him a chance after such a long time off. He needs a chance to get over that and we’ll bring him along slowly. He’s got his life ahead of him now.”

Vado Forte (4-1 joint-favourite) bounced back from a below-par effort on unsuitable ground to get off the mark over fences at the ninth attempt in the Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap Chase.

The seven-year-old collared Solar Impulse at the final obstacle and went on to win by two and three-quarter lengths.

“Robbie Dunne said at Chepstow the ground was holding and all his best runs have been on soft ground when he can get through it,” said Lacey.

“We thought Doncaster’s ground would be right up his street and it’s all come together.

“The horse deserved to win a race. He’s been so consistent without winning and it’s taken the handicapper a long time to drop him because of that.”

Rocky’s Treasure (17-2) landed his first success since the December Novices’ Chase on this card two years ago with a game display in the bet365 Handicap Chase.

The Kim Bailey-trained nine-year-old had led most of the way and briefly looked beaten when headed, but he rallied for David Bass to defeat Give Me A Copper by half a length.

Bass said: “He’s quite a funny horse and he can be in and out. Last year he had two bad experiences on almost unraceable ground and it took us a while to get him back to where he is now.

“I felt at Newbury he travelled well for a long way and was coming back to himself. He felt great today and was loving it in front.

“He’s got loads of ability and has some very good form.”

The Paul Nicholls-trained Wild Max (5-2) benefited from the fall of leader Mick Maestro at the third-last flight to land the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.

The five-year-old kept up the gallop to strike by nine and a half lengths from Twin Star to give 7lb-claiming amateur Angus Cheleda his ninth career win.

Cheleda said: “He’s travelled brilliantly. He was a bit keen if anything. He jumped really well.

“The faller didn’t help me. He was left in the lead a bit too soon, but he stuck it out well in the end.”

A second 7lb claiming amateur on the scoresheet was Joshua Newman, who guided Tipalong Tyler (15-2) home for trainer Kayley Woollacott in the bet365 Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Power expecting Zoff to peak in Summit date

Robbie Power expects Glorious Zoff to bounce back from a surprising defeat last time out and put up a better show in the bet365 Summit Hurdle at Doncaster.

The three-year-old, trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott, was turned over at 4-11 at Sedgefield when beaten a length and a quarter by Le Magnifique.

Power believes that was not a true reflection of the horse’s ability as Glorious Zoff had created a good impression when winning by 12 lengths at Sligo on his hurdling debut.

“Glorious Zoff was a good winner of his maiden hurdle in Sligo and got beat at short odds in Sedgefield the last day, but things didn’t quite work out for him,” said Power.

“This is a step up in class, but he should be very competitive.”

Monmiral won first time out for trainer Paul Nicholls after leaving Francois Nicolle’s stable in France.

The Saint Des Saints gelding justified favouritism in good style at Exeter last month, having also won on his debut over the smaller obstacles at Auteuil in March.

“I was delighted with his winning debut for us at Exeter, where his jumping was sound and he finished full of running,” the Ditcheat handler told Betfair.

“I hadn’t been hard on him at home and half expected him to maybe need the race a bit because in the back of my mind the Exeter race was going to be a prep for this weekend, either at Doncaster or Cheltenham.

“We think Monmiral is smart and he has definitely improved for the experience.”

Making up the five runners are Oliver Greenall’s Gold Desert, third at Sedgefield behind Glorious Zoff but a winner since at Catterick, plus Heather Main’s Flat maiden Cloud Thunder and Mistersister, a hurdles scorer in France before moving to Charlie Mann’s stable.

Power is also looking forward to continuing his association with Ofalltheginjoints in the bet365 December Novices’ Chase.

The Irish jockey steered the Colin Tizzard-trained six-year-old to victory at Exeter a month ago on his second run over fences.

“He won nicely in Exeter the last day. This is a step up in class obviously to Grade Two company from a handicap, but he seems in good form,” said Power.

“He’s the highest-rated horse in the race, so hopefully he’ll have a good chance.”

Trainer Nick Mitchell is hopeful of a decent display from Milanford.

The six-year-old outran his odds of 66-1 when only beaten a length and three-quarters in second place behind L’Air Du Vent at Exeter three weeks ago.

That was his first run under rules after several point-to-point runs for Thomas Malone.

“He ran to a really good level last time,” said Dorset-based Mitchell.

“The trip and the ground will suit.

“I don’t think it’s beyond him. He’s got plenty of experience through his point to pointing days.”

House Island, trained by Paul Webber, will be a strong fancy after opening his account over fences at Ludlow.

Fergal O’Brien’s Hurricane Harvey made a successful chasing debut at Uttoxeter in October, but was second of three behind Ga Law at Wincanton on his only subsequent start.

The Mighty Don was the other horse declared, but he ran at Cheltenham on Friday and was second to Happygolucky.

‘Fantastic servant’ Supasundae heads for retirement

Robbie Power hailed Supasundae a “fantastic servant” after the triple Grade One winner was retired from racing.

Having claimed Cheltenham Festival glory in the 2017 Coral Cup, the son of Galileo went on to make his mark at the highest level for trainer Jessica Harrington, with victories in the Irish Champion Hurdle, the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and the Aintree Hurdle.

But with the 10-year-old looking a shadow of his former self in three starts so far this season – most recently finishing last of six runners in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse – Harrington has now called time on his racing career.

“He’s been a fantastic servant,” said Power, who guided Supasundae to five of his eight victories.

“He won three Grade Ones and a Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. He was also second in a Stayers’ Hurdle a couple of years ago.

“He was just a tough, honest horse who always gave his running. I think he ran in 10 Grade One races consecutively at one stage and was never out of the first three.

“He beat Faugheen in an Irish Champion Hurdle and beat Buveur D’Air in an Aintree Hurdle. Probably beating Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle was his best performance, but I got a great buzz out him winning the Aintree Hurdle as well.”

Supasundae won British bumpers for Tim Fitzgerald and Andrew Balding, before being bought privately by the late Alan Potts ahead of finishing sixth in the 2015 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham for Henry de Bromhead.

He was moved to Harrington’s yard the following year and signs off having either won or been placed on 19 of his 31 career outings – earning almost £770,000 in the process.

Stylish win for Striking A Pose

Striking A Pose is expected to go on to bigger and better things after initiating a Wincanton double for Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power.

Bought for £95,000 after impressing on his sole start in the point-to-point field, Striking A Pose had finished third on his first two starts over hurdles at Newton Abbot and Ascot in October.

Despite carrying the welter burden of 12 stone in the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, the four-year-old cruised clear of his rivals – passing the post eight and half lengths clear of Hugos Other Horse to win at 10-1.

“Striking A Pose is a lovely horse who just needed the experience on his first couple of runs,” said Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father.

“I think the step up in trip suited him, and he’s done it nicely today.

“Hopefully there’s more to come from him.”

Tizzard and Power were soon on the mark again, with Darlac also proving much too good for his rivals in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Silver Buck Handicap Chase.

Darlac jumps the final fence clear of his rivals
Darlac jumps the final fence clear of his rivals (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The 7-2 chance fell on a couple of occasions last season, and again came to grief on his first start of the current campaign at Newton Abbot in September.

However, after filling the runner-up spot twice since, the Lucarno gelding went one better in some style – with an impressive round of jumping helping him seal a seven-and-a-half-length verdict over Forgot To Ask.

Tizzard added: “We ran Darlac in a beginners chase last time, because he’s had three falls over fences. That last run helped him regain his confidence – and today he bore the fruit of that, because he jumped super and won it like he could.

“He’s a horse with a bit of ability, as he proved in novice hurdles a couple of years ago.”

Global Harmony (3-1) opened her account for brothers Dan and Harry Skelton in the Watch Racing TV In Stunning HD Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The daughter of Flemensfirth was not winning out of turn, having been placed in four of her previous six starts.

Dan Skelton said: “She’s been running well in defeat, and I actually had a little hold-up with her after her first run of the season at Perth in September.

“Her last run at Warwick was another good run after what was almost a bit of a lay-off, so I thought she’d go very well today.

“She was the highest-rated horse in the race, and I thought off her mark she’d take a bit of beating anyway – I didn’t think we had to improve a great deal to win.”

Charlie Case steering Kilbrew Boy (green) to victory
Charlie Case steering Kilbrew Boy (green) to victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Kilbrew Boy justified 6-5 favouritism in the Visit racingtv.com Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase for the father-and-son combination of Ben and Charlie Case.

Victor Dartnall’s River Bray landed the Use The racingtv.com Tracker Handicap Hurdle under Tom Scudamore, before conditional jockey Bryan Carver steered Robert Walford’s Ede’iffs Elton (11-2 favourite) home in front in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Foreign Exchange Handicap Chase.

The concluding junior bumper went to Nigel Twiston-Davies’ 4-6 favourite I Like To Move It, ridden by Jordan Nailor.

Following up his debut win at Aintree last month, the three-year-old easily conceded weight all round and was more than eight lengths too good for market rival Mondora in second.

The Shunter swoops for Greatwood glory

The Shunter flew up the Cheltenham hill to run out an impressive winner of the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle.

Racing from the bottom of the handicap, he relished the testing conditions as he quickened past top weight Ballyandy after the last.

Ridden confidently by Robbie Power, partnering his fourth winner of the Open meeting, it was a notable success for trainer Emmett Mullins.

As ever there were plenty in with a chance approaching the last, but Ballyandy still held sway despite his welter burden, and he did well to hold off the favourite Tegerek for second. Hunters Call was fourth.

The Shunter (13-2) only had a maiden hurdle win to his name over the smaller obstacles previously, but did triumph over fences at Punchestown in September.

Power said: “I’d say it’s the lightest I’ve done for 10 years. Emmet fancied him and the rain came. He is more of a two-and-a-half miler, but the rain came and it brought his stamina into it today.

“I got badly outpaced down the hill and I couldn’t go with them – I had to sit and suffer. He winged the second last and I knew when I gave him a squeeze at the back of the second last, I had a big chance.

“I needed a good jump at the last, but he has delivered for me. Once I met the rising ground, he galloped all the way up the hill. Having a light weight on that sort of ground makes a huge difference as well.”

Power admitted he had a tough few days to make the minimum weight.

He added: “I’ve not eaten a whole pile. I’ve eaten a bit of chicken, but very little since Friday morning. I had breakfast Friday morning and a few bits of chicken and All-Bran for breakfast in the mornings, that’s all.

“I’ve not had dinner the last two nights. I don’t like sweating as I’d rather starve than sweat. I did a small sweat this morning. I’m well hydrated as I’ve been drinking plenty of fluids.

“The eating doesn’t bother me as it’s something I’ve grown up with. I’ve probably smoked more in the last couple of days than I ever have before.

“Emmet has done a fantastic job with him. He was impressive over hurdles at Downpatrick and very impressive in a beginners’ chase at Punchestown. Emmet thought coming here off 10st, it was a good chance for him and when the heavens opened, it really played to his strengths.”

The Shunter (right) and Ballyandy battled all the way home
The Shunter (right) and Ballyandy battled all the way home (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Sam Twiston-Davies, rider of runner-up Ballyandy said:  “Ballyandy is a fantastic servant for the yard and he ran really well.”

Kevin Brogan, rider of the third-placed Tegerek, said: “Tegerek ran well. He was being a bit of a boyo before the race which didn’t really help.

“I thought turning in he was going very well, but it’s very hard work in that ground out there – we’re very happy with him.

Eldorado Allen takes full advantage of Gumball exit

Eldorado Allen capitalised on Gumball’s dramatic exit at the second-last fence to win the From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

Gumball had led from the start in the hands of Richard Johnson – and was still in control when taking a crashing fall.

That left Eldorado Allen, trained by Colin Tizzard, with a clear advantage which he maintained all the way to the line to give Robbie Power a double after his earlier success aboard Duffle Coat.

Quel Destin just held the challenge of Le Patriote to claim second place, 19 lengths behind the winner.

The big disappointment of the race was the hot favourite Fusil Raffles, who was never jumping and eventually pulled up.

Tizzard said: “He was a very good hurdler. His jumping, even when he got in close, he didn’t lose anything. As all jockeys would say, he hadn’t really gone for him (when Gumball fell), but that is what all jockeys say. I thought he had a bit to do.

“He is the best two-miler we’ve had on hurdle form going over fences. He has taken to his fences well. We shall campaign with Cheltenham in mind, that’s for sure. He will want a race in a month’s time as we can wait until the spring.

“He has just jumped nice – he was good at Newton Abbot and better here today. We schooled him on Wednesday, just to do it for the sake of it as we thought we are coming to Cheltenham so we better remind him and he jumped everything in front of him fine.

“I would have thought so (Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown), if that is the next one. If Joe said it is that is the one we will go for.”

Eldorado Allen was quoted at 25-1 for the Sporting Life Arkle Trophy with Coral and 20-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power.