It was fantastic to be crowned Champion Jockey at Sandown at the end of the last season, it was my fourth Championship and a great day of racing, having my family there made it very special and I am now as keen as ever to get my fifth.
During the 6 day break of British jump racing I made my way over to the Punchestown festival to ride Defi Du Seuil in the Ryanair Novices Chase, we were only beaten a few lengths by Chacon Pour Soi. It is frustrating to finish second however the winner looks a very nice type and the horse in third, Duc Des Genievres won the Arkle Novices Chase in the Cheltenham Festival back in March, so it was a very good run. Defi Du Seuil will now go on his summer holiday and be back for next season.
The start of the new season was on Saturday, I was in Uttoxeter with six rides, and it was nice to come away with a winner for Martin Keighley. On Sunday, my eldest child Willow had her first Point-to-Point Pony Race in Cold Harbour, the Radnor and West Hereford is my local hunt so it was nice to have the day off to go and support them, although I’m not quite sure who was the most nervous – I think it could have been myself.
Pony Racing is a great grounding for children and shows them what racing is about, most of the young jockeys coming through now have pony raced and it really does give them the competitive edge when they come to ride in either Point to Points or on the track at the age of sixteen.
I was at Kempton on Bank Holiday Monday where I had a winner for Philip Hobbs, jump racing is now getting back into a bit of a routine after the break and I start to get busy again, I am currently on my way to Fakenham for two rides and will be heading to Newton Abbot tomorrow for six rides.
Over the weekend, Mum has one of her horses entered in Warwick so the family will be making the trip there if he runs. The Last Bridge is entered in a Conditional’s Handicap Chase so unfortunately I won’t be taking the ride, but we will have the best available.