It has been a great couple of weeks for me, with plenty of winners edging me closer to Harry Skelton in the title race. At the time of writing we’ve closed his lead to 8 winners, 84 for Harry to my 76!
This isn’t the be all and end all, but it’s good to be on a roll. Philip Hobbs has sent out several winners recently, so his yard seems to be back in form at just the right time. I have also had further successes for Gordon Elliott at his usual hunting ground at Perth, a treble at Sedgefield and also at Worcester. I’ve also picked up winners for Colin Tizzard, Olly Murphy, Henry Daly and Tom Lacey.
I rode Gordon’s first ever winner at Perth and he always does well there. The horses travel by ferry to Stranraer and then it’s a 150 mile drive, so it’s not an easy journey, but he sends multiple horses and does very well there. Irish racing only takes place 3 times a week and it can be very competitive. Gordon is very astute at finding a winning opportunity, and he has so many horses that he’s looking for opportunities for. We’ve got so much racing in Britain in comparison to Ireland that there are sometimes easier pickings here for his horses below the top grade.
Over the last couple of days we’ve had our final mini break from jump racing before the season kicks off in a month’s time. I took the opportunity to spend some time with my wife and children, and on Sunday I’ll be at Olly Murphy’s open day at his yard at Stratford-upon-Avon.
I hear the Chepstow Annual Members are going on a coach trip to David Pipe’s stables next week. That will be interesting. When I was growing up and getting into racing his dad Martin Pipe was at the forefront of the modern era of national hunt training, sending out horses fitter than anyone else’s and inspiring the modern generation of trainers with his scientific methods, interval training and so on. He’s a real character and so knowledgeable. David Pipe has been a very successful trainer in his own right, having trained many Cheltenham winners and of course a Grand National winner in Comply or Die. He is still a young man too, so there will be many more winners to come.Racing resumes on Monday. At the moment I'm jocked up at Hexham and Worcester, so we'll have to see what Dave Roberts can get me booked for.