“He’s been improving at home and his work has been really good”

Triumph Hurdle

Kargese won a Grade 1 hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, and she is obviously going to be getting 7lbs from the geldings which will help.

We’ve got a strong contingent with Majborough, Storm Heart and Bunting all in there – I wouldn’t be surprised if any of those improved past Kargese. At the time those horses had only had two runs over hurdles, whereas she’d already had four.

Outside of that, it is a very open contest. I wouldn’t be particularly strong on anything here, but Bunting and Ethical Diamond are two that could certainly run well at a big price.

County Hurdle

We’ve got a lot of runners in the County Hurdle, with one of those being Absurde, who was a high-class flat horse, winning the Ebor and running very well in the Melbourne Cup. He improved on his previous form to be fourth over hurdles at the Dublin Racing Festival against Ballyburn and Slade Steel. The rain wouldn’t have helped his cause, but hopefully it will have dried out a bit by Friday. He’s got a lovely weight of 10st 10lbs and I can see him running a big race. He’ll be dropped in and running on late, so anyone backing him shouldn’t be worried if they don’t see him early in the race.

Another that I’d give a good chance to is Zenta. She was third in the Triumph Hurdle last year behind Lossiemouth and has since gone on to win a Grade 1 at Aintree. She disappointed on her first run over fences, so we switched her back over hurdles and she ran very well at Leopardstown in the big handicap hurdle there. I think she could improve and is another one in with a big chance.

Albert Bartlett

This is a race that we’re pretty strong in with Readin Tommy Wrong, Dancing City, and High Class Hero all towards the top of the market. Dancing City won a Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival, but he wasn’t overly fancied there and I’m just not sure how to rate that form.

High Class Hero has the right profile for the race, having already had a few runs over hurdles, which is usually what you need here in terms of experience. They’ve been lesser class races, but by design we wanted to keep him to a lower class, and he’s been improving, so he could run well.

I do really like Readin Tommy Wrong. He ran really well to beat Ile Atlantique in the Lawlor’s Of Naas, and I think the step up to three miles will really suit him. He’s a very relaxed horse and he jumps well, so I think he’ll go through the race smoothly and I think he’s a very strong each-way bet.

Gold Cup

Shishkin being out obviously helps our chances here because he is a very good horse, but nonetheless I still think Galopin Des Champs will win. He was very impressive at Leopardstown over Christmas, and he was the same in beating Fastorslow the last day at the Dublin Racing Festival.

He comes here as the reigning champion and the slower ground will help him. 3m2f suits him really well, he is a strong stayer and I do think he will win. I’d imagine Paul Townend will wait to see how the race pans out and he won’t have to make the running, but he certainly can if need be.

Hunters Chase

We’ve got a nice chance in the Hunters Chase with Billaway. He ran very well in his first run at Naas when second to Its On The Line. He’s a horse with plenty of experience at Cheltenham and he’s won this race before.

He is a 12-year-old now and I suspect some of the other horses with younger legs might have a bit too much for him.

Mares’ Chase

We’ve got a couple of great chances here, both of which are very experienced round Cheltenham. Allegorie De Vassy was second in the race last year whilst Dinoblue was the runner-up in the Grand Annual.

Dinoblue looks to have improved plenty having picked up a Grade 1 in Leopardstown earlier this year, before going on to finish second behind El Fabiolo last time out. I think she is the class animal in the race.

Allegorie De Vassy is a very good mare and she improved to win at Naas the last day. I don’t think the rain will have helped her and any drying ground that comes would suit her. I would hope that both will have a bit more class than the rest of the field, with Dinoblue probably the one to win.

Martin Pipe

I think you can make a case for both of our runners having a chance in the Martin Pipe. Ocastle Des Mottes ran for the first time this term in the Betfair Hurdle last time out and I thought he did quite well in finishing eighth. The step up in trip along with a little more experience will help him.

I do like Quai De Bourbon at the top of the market. He’s had a couple of runs in France and didn’t show it all. He was a bit of a surprise winner of his maiden at Naas, but he improved again to win over two miles at Clonmel the last day. He’s a really laid back horse and the step up to 2m4½f should bring out the best attributes in him. He’s been improving at home and his work has been really good, I do really like him, and he has a good, strong pilot in Michael O’Sullivan on his back.

Best of luck,



EDITORIAL Peace on Earth, good will to all – while messaging channels battle it out

One of the key trends to emerge in 2023 in telemedia has been how far messaging has evolved in just a year. While SMS continues to dominate – and that is with more than 60% of businesses globally notusing it yet for A2P – OTT has started to take a large slice of the business messaging market this year.

In fact, according to data from Juniper Research, OTT dominates conversational commerce, likely accounting for 53% of spend in 2024. The rise of OTT in the messaging market has been one of the standout stories of 2023 in the messaging and telemedia industries. Starting back in the pandemic, WhatsApp in particular started to gain ground. Consumers were drawn to it for P2P messaging, but soon found themselves looking to reach out to businesses through it. The pandemic boom in ecommerce only enhanced this.

Up until November this year, the big story in messaging was how OTT/WhatsApp was eating SMS revenues – albeit slowly – and what that may mean for MNOs messaging revenues. This indeed sits behind much of Juniper Research’s messaging research this year. And, indeed, that of Telemedia News.

But that has all changed in less than a month. News that Apple is to support RCS in its iOS update in 2024 has changed everything.

For SMS, it does look like a real threat, although there is always going to be a market for simple, good old-fashioned SMS messaging in OTPs and the like – even with SMS pumping and AIT throwing a small spanner in the works. But it is WhatsApp that could be the real loser here.

Apple’s embrace of RCS suddenly sees rich messaging with all the bells and whistles confined to Google’s RCS and Apple’s iMessage for many users. If the two can be knitted together seamlessly then is there really a need for WhatsApp?

While WhatsApp has been very popular, interest is waning in it. A study in the UK in November found that many people were dropping it as they were fed up of the groups they were in and, more tellingly, don’t like that people can see if they have read their messages and not replied.

Of course, there are many hoops for RCS to jump through before it gets to be a ‘WhatsApp killer’, but it is likely to make a dent in it. It looks likely that this time next year we may well be looking at a very different messaging landscape to the one we are looking at today.

So, with that in mind, it just leaves me to wish you all a very merry and peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for reading and supporting us and I look forward to where this crazy industry goes in 2024.

>>> Don’t miss out on the latest news, analysis and key insider views from around the industry via the Telemedia Newsletter. Totally free and published every Thursday – Sign up for your copy TODAY