When I rode a 5 timer at Perth on 18th August, I assumed it would be a ‘once in a lifetime’ achievement. Just one month on to achieve the same feat again on Thursday this week is unbelievable! Both 5 timers were thanks to Gordon Elliott, who is just a brilliant trainer. He loves Perth, and seems to know exactly what it takes to win a race there.
It has been a really great week for me. On Tuesday at Warwick I got my 3500th career winner. I knew the landmark was close, but the Racing Post is good at keeping the stats and they told me this was the day. 4000 is a long way away, but it’s something I’ll be working my way towards over the coming years! I’m still over 800 behind AP’s career total. My main aim is to be champion as many times as possible, so spells like this week are great but I’m aware I need luck on my side over the winter. At the time of writing, I’ve closed the gap on Harry Skelton to just one winner – five timers certainly help, maybe I’ll try for one every month! We’re swinging along now, with lots of the trainers I ride for in good form. Long may it continue.
The standout horse I rode at Perth was probably Cubomania, a novice chaser who won on both of these trips to Perth. This horse is only a 5 year old and he keeps surprising us – he only won by a head this time but he was giving weight away to older horses. In between his two Perth wins, he also won a handicap chase at Kelso last week. He’s a faster ground horse, and I expect Gordon will make use of him while the ground is good. The races he’s been winning have been reasonably valuable, but I expect he could step up to a bigger race next time.
I’m doing a lot of riding out and schooling at the moment – I try to get to my main supporters Philip Hobbs, Warren Greatrex, Olly Murphy, Henry Daly and Tim Vaughan as often as I can. The trouble we’re having at the moment is the quick ground – we really could do with some more rain to provide safe schooling ground for the horses. Most yards have good all-weather gallops, but to jump horses you really need the turf to be in good condition and training yards don’t have the watering systems you see at the racecourses, so they really need some rain.
Next week I’ll be calling into Chepstow to do some filming about the season ahead, including the Jump Season Opener and the Coral Welsh Grand National. I’ll also be at the inaugural Welsh Racing Awards at the racecourse on 22nd November. At the Jump Season Opener meeting I’ll be guest speaking for some of the hospitality guests, visiting the launch of the new Annual Members bar and joining an autograph session for children. Maybe I’ll see you there!