SEÁN O’Brien is busy preparing his string of horses for the upcoming autumn-winter jumps campaign.
The Kilworth trainer is also relishing the return of the point-to-point circuit, which gets underway, later this month.
Despite the ongoing situation, resulting from Covid-19, and the high-level of uncertainty surrounding the racing calendar, the local handler finds his Kilally Stables almost full to capacity.
O’Brien’s team of horses have summered well, and are coming along nicely.
‘‘All the horses have come back in mighty shape. I’d say our first runners will be in four to six weeks’ time. They’ll be the track horses; the likes of R’evelyn Pleasure and Johnny Little Legs.
"I will have a couple for the early point-to-points.
"The rest are young horses. I’ll have four or five horses out early enough. We didn’t bring them in until August 1, as owners were still unsure what was happening and we find that the ground (for jumping) isn’t safe until the end of October.
"The type of races we’ll be aiming for will be from then on.
‘‘We’ve a few young horses on the go. A new client from Galway sent me on a young horse last week. So, things aren’t too bad.
"Having this conversation four or five months ago, I thought we would be awfully quiet.
"But, it’s not all doom and gloom. I can’t complain. We’re busy enough, we have 10 riding out, which is probably as busy as I get, as it is hard to get staff.
"I’m lucky enough in that I’ve a couple of lads with me.
"They are working away and doing things well. I’m lucky that I’ve had the few loyal owners. Mark McDonagh has three horses with me and he has been sending a few young horses on to me with the last two or three years,’’ the trainer said.
R’evelyn Pleasure is undoubtedly the stable star at O’Brien’s Kilworth operation. The son of Getaway is a three-time winner under rules and his handler reports him to be in fine fettle, ahead of his seasonal debut.
"Having learned a lot about his flagbearer last term, O’Brien is determined to get him back to winning races this season.
‘‘I want to get off on the right foot with him this year. He was running in tough ground last year.
"The clock keeps ticking with him and it’s important to hit the ground running and trying to get back to the form of his novice chase season (two wins) – that’s his best line.
"It’s the best summer he has ever done; he came back looking a million dollars. He would have got a couple of easy weeks, just out the woods, trotting.
"In the next two to three weeks, he’ll be back in full work.
"I’d be getting him out early enough for the nicer ground and I’ll be picking races and courses that will suit.
"It would be great to get a win on the board with him, which would give us all a lift. He’ll start back over hurdles, over two miles and two, to two and a half.
"Over fences, it will be two and a half miles.
"I want to keep it as simple as possible with him, at a track that will suit him, like Thurles or Naas. I know he’ll start hitting the bullseye again,’’ he said.
The point-to-point season is just two weeks away and O’Brien reckons that he has a promising couple of runners to go to war with, in the shape of a strapping son of Vinnie Roe and an imposing Fame And Glory gelding.
‘‘I have a horse belonged to my aunt; Roe’vinprince is his name. He had been ready to run in a point (last season). He has done everything right, schooled great.
"He’s a gorgeous, big horse and he’s a horse I like. He’ll run in the next five or six weeks.
"He’s a horse to look forward to. I’ve a lovely Fame And Glory horse, out of a good grade two-winning mare I had called Caoimhe’s Delight. He’s a big, huge horse and has taken time.
"But I like him a lot. He’ll probably run in November."