Well, it’s been another one of those week’s filled with wintery weather and jeez it’s been cold here in Lambourn. As I mentioned in my last column everyone has made a great effort within the sport to keep going with this horrid weather.
Since my last column on Tuesday things have been busy so now I’ll kick on and tell you all about what has been happening in my world.
WEDNESDAY – I started the day off by riding out at Brendan’s. I sat on the two year old Brockhill Flyer. He’s recently come back in having had a break, he’s strengthened up well and also had his pockets picked (been gelded!). He’s showing all the signs that he’ll be ready to rock and roll early so hopefully he’ll head for the Brocklesby. After riding out, it was a case of de-frosting before heading to Lingfield.
I had two rides for Olivia Maylam. I rode Scottish Lake first and he ran a cracker. He will have needed the run and was carrying a bit of overweight himself, so he could go well if he goes next week at Kempton.
Then it was a steady drive to Kempton to ride Just Breathe. Just Breathe won first time out as a two year old in a selling sprint race and followed that up with a really good second, too. When Olivia got him we thought he would be okay but he disappointed. We’ve come to the conclusion that he may need a trip. He finished the race lame and will be having a break but when he comes back we will be training him to stay and look to run over a mile and a quarter.
THURSDAY – Rode out for Brendan, as always we had a good laugh and some banter whilst there. I was only at Kempton so it meant I could take Hugo for a nice walk and also take Chunk out for a hack round. Chunk (Clearing House) is enjoying his retirement and really settling in well. In a few weeks I will start training over poles, to teach him how to jump. I also received some good news in that I had been invited to ride in an International Series for lady rider’s in Macau next month. The first thing I thought was…..warm weather!! Seriously though, it’s a great opportunity and if things go really well, I could receive an invitation to ride out there next winter.
As I’ve mentioned previously the opportunities on the all-weather have dwindled to some degree, so it could mean a decent income for next winter and then there’s the added bonus of no snow!
I originally had four rides at Kempton but one was pulled out. Menadati was in the process of running well when we got hampered and I had to snatch up. That ruined his chance but hopefully the handicapper may drop him a pound or two and we can try again soon.
FRIDAY – A busy day ahead and it started with a few spins up on the Lambourn gallops for Brendan. I had a few hours in the car ahead as I had a ride at both Lingfield and Wolverhampton. As I’ve said before the driving really is the downer of the job. I never used to mind it before I had my enforced sabatical but since coming back and having been here, there and everywhere, it does get me down at times.
At least when the turf season starts we can share lifts with each other. Not only does it save on fuel costs but it cuts down on the mind numbing concentration needed….I could never be a long distance truck driver!!
I rode my old mate Sherjawy at Lingfield, we finished fourth and being fair, if I hadn’t got squeezed up on the rail we may of gone close. He’s enjoying his racing more since we changed tactics and started holding him up. I hope we can get that elusive win before long as the owners are lovely people and I’d like nothing more than get it for them. There was a chance that a stewards enquiry could be called due to the interference I suffered but I had to hit the road. I spoke to Zoe when I got on the M25 and the stewards didn’t call one (I wonder if they would of done if I’d caused the interference??), which didn’t surprise me. For a Friday the drive up to Wolverhampton was pretty good so I arrived in good time.
My ride at Dunstall Park was the unraced Short Shrift for James Toller. We finished a nice fourth and Mr Toller was happy with her debut run, as she will come on for that and will have learnt plenty. The drive home was reasonable too, which was a bonus. Instead of going home I went to Newmarket as I was riding out there on Saturday morning, so I stayed over at a friend’s and we had a nice catch up and a bite to eat.
SATURDAY – I rode out for Luca Cumani. It’s always nice to catch up with everyone at Bedford House and I hope the team have a successful season ahead. Mr Cumani has over 100 horses in this year and it really is a big team effort. Kieren Fallon will be first jockey again, with myself and apprentice Patrick Hills riding when Kieren is elsewhere, or unavailable. I rode work on Mallory Heights and he gave me a lovely feel. He is one to watch out for early doors.
One horse from last year I liked was the juvenile filly Nargys. She took three races to break her maiden tag before running a nice second in a nursery. In her final race of the season she stepped up again and finished second in the Group two Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket. She was a lovely filly at two but shes come back looking like a “monster” as she’s grown and strengthened up. After riding work I set off for the Midlands again and Dunstall Park. I had four rides and all looked nice rides.
The first one was Crimson Monarch for Peter Hiatt and admittadley I may have gone too soon but the thing was he was travelling so well coming round the bend! Nothing was going as well so, we didn’t get a lead and we eventually finished third. A furlong out he drifted to the left and I hampered Robert Tart. I didn’t see him nor did I hear him coming up my inside. Had it been one of the lads and not an inexperienced apprentice he would of shouted at me. It was purely accidental whether I got a shout or not but hey….you’ve guessed it “Bing Bong, stewards enquiry, stewards enquiry!” Oh, and guess what they didn’t deem it accidental either! Again, Rob’s inexperience didn’t help me as had it been one of the senior lads in the enquiry he would of tried to play it down. But we’ve all been there and it can be intimidating in the stewards room when you’ve just started out.
Stuart William’s Rogue Reporter was up next and according to Stuart he had a habit of living up to his name, being a rogue. We jumped out and made the running. He ran well, the owner’s were happy and that is what matters.
My third ride was the Michael Squance trained Onceuponatime, he’s a old horse that has had a few issues but having ridden him before he still has ability to win a race. I felt that the seven furlongs just stretched him a bit so I recommended to Michael that he drops him back to six furlongs.
My final ride (well in a race) was the Andrew Balding trained Subtle Difference, I finished second on him last month in a maiden and was pleased to get back on him as he’s owned by Kirsten Rausing, whose white and green silks have been carried to victory by some wonderful horses. We thought he was my best chance of a winner and that was how it went but, we just missed out on the win by the absolute bare minimum. Andrew was very happy, but I was disappointed we never got up on the line.
After racing I rode work for Dave Griffiths, due to the weather trainer’s are taking their horses to the track to gallop to keep them ticking over and it also gives us jockey’s opportunities to ride work after racing and maybe pick up rides for new connections. I’ve ridden a couple of winner’s for Dave since I started back riding so we’ve had some success together…here’s to plenty more too!
After riding work I hit the road back to Lambourn and, on arrival, I set about finishing my blog for you all.
Later in the evening I am heading down to the Malt Shovel for Brendan Powell Jr’s 18th birthday party. With Cheltenham being the jump lads will be in good spirit’s so it promises to be a good night. On the drive home I did feel disappointed not to get on the scoresheet as I always set myself high standards.
January has been very frustrating has from the 26 rides I’ve had up until the close of play today, 12 of them have being placed. Now Hayley has started riding again after her operation and holiday, it’s the kick up the backside I need to get me going. Competition is always healthy!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and good luck with Hiddon Coin and Rosies Lady on Monday.
Bye for now.