CONOR O’FARRELL is confident that Broadway Buffalo can land his second significant steeplechase in six days by justifying favouritism for the William Hill Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby.
David Pipe’s chaser was a classy winner of last Saturday’s Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock and looks extremely well handicapped for today’s test – despite carring a six-pound penalty.
The 11-runner field contains six Yorkshire-trained horses, including Vintage Star from the High Eldwick yard of last year’s winning handler Sue Smith, but O’Farrell is confident.
“I don’t think he had an over-hard race at Haydock and he goes to Wetherby with every chance,” the 25-year-old told The Yorkshire Post.
“He’s run well at Cheltenham and Newcastle earlier in the season, but he finally put it all together.
“He settled well, jumped well and ran to the best of his ability. My lad, he never missed a beat at Haydock. If he puts in the same round of jumping, you would have to be very confident.”
This is an important race for O’Farrell, who has been attached to the West Country yard of David Pipe for four seasons.
Having ridden out his claim, he now has to compete on equal terms against the likes of stable jockey Tom Scudamore, who partners Dynaste in today’s William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton, and the 19-times champion jockey AP McCoy.
After hitting the front prematurely, and to his cost, aboard Our Father in the Betfred Becher Chase over the Grand National fences at the beginning of the month, O’Farrell made no mistake with his front-running tactics in the Tommy Whittle.
“The opportunities are hard to come by because there are so many lads looking for rides in the South,” he said. “To win a race like the Tommy Whittle last Saturday and on Channel Four, they are the kind of things that help get you going and get you noticed.
“That said, I’m in a better position than a lot of lads. I’m understudy to Tommy Scu who is a gentleman and brilliant to work with. He is the type of person who you can ring up for advice on anything; he’s a very nice person and very helpful.”
O’Farrell, whose weight allowance was critical to Buena Vista’s win in Cheltenham’s Pertemps Final in March 2011, has also played a key role in the career of Dynaste, who is the Pipe stable’s standard-bearer in today’s big race at Kempton.
He was in the saddle when the grey was a wide-margin winner of Haydock’s feature fixed brush hurdle three years ago, a win which prompted connections to go steeplechasing with the son of Martaline.
Though only third to Silviniaco Conti in last month’s Betfair Chase, O’Farrell was far from discouraged with the Ryanair Chase winner’s comeback run. “He’s getting cheekpieces on for the first time,” disclosed the jockey. “If he turns up on his best form, he will have every chance.”