Summer ought to be a quieter time for us jump jockeys. However, with less racing on, we have to spend a lot of our time travelling to meetings far and wide because every winner counts. For example on Saturday, I've got options at Fontwell or Hexham. At the moment I'm jocked up at both but we'll see what the opportunities are at each track before I make a decision.
Travelling is probably my least favourite part of the job. I'm one of the lucky ones in that I have a driver a lot of the time. Roy used to be a jockey's valet and then drove for Jason Maguire before he retired. We meet at a designated spot and then I hop in the passenger seat and fall asleep. Often we set off early from Herefordshire for Philip Hobbs' yard in Somerset so I can ride out, then we head off to some far-flung race meeting, so we certainly put the miles in.
On Thursday evening I'll be at Uttoxeter for several good rides. On Friday I'm looking forward to riding Diakali at Newton Abbot for Gary Moore. This horse was a grade 1 winner in his younger days for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, his owner moved him to Gary Moore because there are more opportunities for him in the UK at this stage in his career. At the age of 9 he had gone novice chasing, and he was impressive when I won on him at Fontwell last week.
Despite there being less jump racing in the summer I've had a successful week in terms of winners. The horse I mentioned last week, Imperial Presence, won at Stratford on Saturday. He's a good ground horse so we'll make hay while the sun shines and Philip Hobbs is aiming him for a valuable handicap at Uttoxeter in late July. I rode a treble on the card, with winners for Warren Greatrex and Tim Vaughan too.
I also rode a winner at Southwell on Tuesday in the maiden hurdle. The horse was Je Suis Charlie for trainer John Quinn. John Quinn is mostly a flat trainer but he knows what he's doing with jump horses too. I've probably ridden a handful of winners for him over the last few seasons. This horse is a nice one, and one to follow over the summer.
Being the quiet season for jumping I get the occasional day off, although a day off is never really a lazy day. I spent Wednesday morning with the farrier, looking at the feet of our yearlings and two year olds. They don't need shoes yet but their feet need trimming and tidying, and it's good to get them used to having their feet handled because when they go into racing their shoes will be changed regularly.
I also got to spend some time with the children and enjoyed watching my daughter play in a rounders game. They love horses and racing, but they don't get to see much of me during the jump season so this was a nice afternoon for me.