Well it wasn’t a very good weekend for me, to say the least. From Exeter on Friday up to Newcastle on Saturday, Southwell on Sunday and Ayr on Monday. Thank goodness for my driver Roy, who took me to all of these courses and home again every day. Only at Ayr did I get into the winner’s enclosure, riding Looksnowtlikenbrian for Tim Vaughan. Though he was odds on it was hard work, for he jumped stickily, which I put down to the heavy ground. Anyhow, a win’s a win and it was my 150th of the season. It was very satisfying to reach that landmark.
January’s Chepstow winner Back To The Thatch was going well when he fell on the last circuit of the Eider Chase at Newcastle. It was so frustrating. I felt pretty confident he’d stay the trip and we know he goes in the soft ground. The Midlands National at Uttoxeter next month is now a possibility. He’s got a bright future and the Welsh National could be on the long-term agenda.
I seem to have been saying it for a long time, but we are even more at the mercy of the weather this week and prospects of any jump racing before Saturday look slim. However, it gives me the chance to spend some time at home, which is particularly welcome after all that travelling.
Every trainer and jockey is going to be on tenterhooks for the next two weeks, hoping that their Festival horses don’t pick up a little injury at home. Something minor now could mean a horse doesn’t have time to recover before the Festival, which is what happened to Willoughby Court a few days ago. And the closer Cheltenham comes, the worse will be the anticlimax if you can’t run.