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Imperious Impervious Impresses At Cork

Brian Hayes for Bookies.com

Brian Hayes  | 5 mins

Imperious Impervious Impresses At Cork

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After a weekend of fixture cancellations, I was delighted when I got the news that Cork’s meeting on Sunday was going ahead, and Impervious really impressed me. She is a special mare.

The wintry weather had meant that Navan was called off on Saturday, and on Sunday, Punchestown’s John Durkan meeting also did not make it. At that point, it was difficult to see anything going ahead, leaving horse racing betting punters wanting.

On Friday I spoke with Impervious’ trainer, Colm Murphy, and he said he hoped the meeting went ahead as he was not sure he could keep a lid on her much longer!

We got the great news that the meeting was to proceed, and the rest was history, as they say.

Imperious Impervious

Simply, Impervious is a much better horse this season in every aspect. Even before the race, she is easier to manage than last year.

Impervious is always on her toes and doing a bit of a jog around the parade ring as she did on Sunday, but nowadays, once we are on the way to the start, she has learned to really calm down. This will help her no end as her career goes on because she is learning to conserve her energy for when it matters.

This was when Impervious really showed how talented she is.

As we jumped off, I was delighted to see Mark Walsh and Dinoblue take it up, as I really wanted Impervious to get a lead. I was not as enthusiastic, though, when we jumped the first, as we met it all wrong, and Dinoblue took about five lengths from us!

Except for that moment, I thought we were fairly spot on in the jumping department – in fact, the first two were brilliant over their obstacles. I thought it was an exhibition from both mares, and it would not have been hard had you only watched that race to think they were both experienced handicappers.

The rest of the race went as planned, but being honest, I thought we had a tough task on our hands when we turned in. I looked up and Dinoblue looked to be going easily – and I feared we were going as fast as we possibly could. This was when Impervious really showed how talented she is.

We met the third-last perfectly and hit the ground running. I went after her, and she powered over the second-last to catch Dinoblue very quickly. It was only when I watched the race back afterwards that I realised how much she had visibly quickened.

...we won with a bit of authority...

A lot of people do not realise that Cork is a track that can suit a front-runner as the finish is quite flat and making up ground is difficult there when one gets into a good rhythm on the front end.

Once I got alongside, I knew we had the race if we met the last on the right stride, and she showed how much scope she had at that point. I knew the stride was long, but thankfully she was up to the task. She showed how much heart she has as she fully committed to the jump, and she also showed that she had a good bit left in the locker.

After this, we won with a bit of authority as I was only hands and heels to get her home up the run in.

It was a great race, with two incredibly talented mares, and I do think there is even more to come. While she is comfortable at two miles, it is more than possible she could be even better up in trip.

Impervious has improved this season anyway, as she was a bit of a shell of a horse last year and has definitely bulked up, but fences have also brought out more from her.

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Last season, there were occasions if she met a hurdle on a short stride, she actually trotted at the back of it. I am not sure whether she just maybe did not respect her hurdles or if she was feeling something, but it cost her a few lengths each time.

She did this at Down Royal when she won the Grade 3 there last season. Three out we jumped it, and she slowed to a trot for two strides and then went on again. It used to kill our momentum, and she did it again at Cheltenham and Fairyhouse.

Over fences, this is not an issue, and she is very quickly away from the back of them. I see she is second favourite with horse racing betting sites now for the Mares Chase at Cheltenham, and I think she more than deserves her spot there.

Colm Murphy is a brilliant trainer, and he has done an excellent job with her. He never hid how highly he regarded her, and it is always great when a horse backs this up. I am grateful to him and the owner Paul McKeon for being associated with her.

The Weekend Ahead

It is a busy weekend ahead, but the weather may cost a few of the meetings. It is extremely hard to know what will go ahead in truth.

I am due to ride Macs Charm for Colm Murphy at the weekend over fences, and I am looking forward to him. He was rated 137 over hurdles, so it will be interesting to see where he will find himself over fences.

At Fairyhouse on Saturday, though, I am really looking forward to the beginners’ chase, where Willie Mullins has a whole host of Grade One novice chasers lined up. His two-mile department looks stacked, and it will be interesting to see which one comes out on top.

About the Author

Brian Hayes for Bookies.com
Brian Hayes
Brian Hayes is a leading Irish jockey based with the Willie Mullins yard and regular rider at all the big national hunt racing festivals including Galway, Punchestown Aintree and Cheltenham. The Cork native has ridden high in the riding ranks despite not hailing from a racing background and quickly becoming a relied on partner for some of the best horses in top training yards.