This has been a pretty good week for me, I enjoyed my trip up to Cartmel, which is a lovely racecourse with a fun atmosphere and lots of family entertainment in the centre course. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been. There was some valuable racing too, I came away with three winners including Leapaway which won a nice £25,000 first prize.
Leapaway had been going the right way this spring and scored his first win at Worcester a fortnight ago impressively, going quickly clear of the favourite to win easily. The race at Cartmel was a step up in class and he was racing off a mark 7lb higher, but again he was very good. Hopefully, he’ll go on improving and picking up some more races through the summer for Philip Hobbs.
On Wednesday at Worcester I had another double. One was for Gordon Elliot, Robin Des Mana, which beat the Nicky Henderson trained favourite in the novice hurdle. It’s great to be able to pick up some rides for Gordon when he brings horses over from Ireland, he’s a brilliant trainer and has so many good horses. I wish he’d bring more to race over here! I would not have got the ride on the last horse he brought over, which was Pallasator who won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot under Jamie Spencer.
My second winner at Worcester was something of a surprise to punters, Boethius won for Tim Vaughan at 22/1. It wasn’t a huge surprise to us though, Tim bought him after he won a couple of point to points and liked him. He was disappointing first time out at Fontwell, when we’d expected more, but he ran a lot better this time. It’s not very often that I ride such a big priced winner!
The racing pages of the newspapers have again been focusing on the fact that I’m still 20 odd winners behind Harry Skelton in the jockeys title race. It’s a good story to write about but at this stage I’m not too worried and I’ll have plenty of ammunition as the season goes on. You might imagine that it gets tense in the weighing room when there’s some rivalry between jockeys, but it’s all very good natured in the jump jockey’s weighing room.
We’re very competitive when we’re out on the track, but afterwards we all get on. Our sport is a dangerous one and I think that means that we all look out for each other. I sat next to AP McCoy in the weighing room for years when I was his closest competitor and we were great friends off the track! I like to think we look out for the young jockeys too, offer advice when it’s needed or asked for. I was always told to treat people as you’d like to be treated yourself and the older jockeys looked out for me when I was starting out.
As a youngster the jockey I looked up to was Peter Scudamore. He was number one at the time, and being from Herefordshire too, there was a local connection. Richard Dunwoody was a hero too. When I started riding Warren Marston was particularly good to me, lending me kit and driving me to the races sometimes before I was old enough to drive myself.
Something different for this Saturday, there’s no jump racing so I’m part of a team of four jump jockeys taking on the international three day event riders including the legendary Mark Todd over showjumps at Barbary Castle three day event. This is a fundraising event for the Injured Jockeys Fund so it’s definitely something I like to support. It ought to be fun too, and at least I don’t have to do dressage!
Nico De Boinville is getting married on Saturday, so lots of us will be there helping him celebrate in the evening too.