It has been a mixed week in the aftermath of Cheltenham. As I settled back into things at home it was in fact a return to England that proved to be the highlight of my week.
I travelled over to Newbury on Friday morning for one ride. Reigning Supreme only won by a length but I felt he won with more in hand than it looked. He didn’t do a whole lot in front and after taking it up after the last he edged left a little but held on well in the end. I have to say I was impressed with the performance, it was like riding a different horse compared to Leicester at the beginning of February. He is a nice sort too and I am certain his future lies over fences.
I have ridden for Nicky Henderson and Michael Buckley a good few times this season and it is always a pleasure. I would go anywhere to ride a good horse but it is particularly nice to ride for these guys as they are top people and Nicky always likes to keep things simple with the riding. It’s been a good partnership so far and with plenty of smart horses in their armoury, it would be great to ride a few more!
Looking ahead there is plenty of quality racing to come through the spring. Not surprisingly, Aintree confirmed itself as my favourite track at last year’s Grand National Festival and it’s exciting to dream about what might be again this year. It’s tough to say what I will be riding at this stage or even what will be running for that matter. However, Henry De Bromhead and Roger Brookhouse have a horse called Stellar Notion which I have ridden to be 2nd, 4th and 2nd in three good handicap chases this season. He has the right credentials for the Grand National and a reasonable racing weight, I wouldn’t mind having a crack with him, he is the ideal candidate.
I hope to see some of the horses I rode at the Cheltenham Festival out again this season. My festival rides have returned from Cheltenham in good health and it will be interesting to see where they go now.
With all the chat in the press recently about capping the number of horses that top owners can run in one race, there is sure to be more debate through the spring. I can’t see a capping on numbers working personally. If the top owners are fortunate enough to have multiple horses good enough to compete in a particular handicap or graded race then those horses should be allowed to compete on their merits. The owners in question put a lot of time and money into our sport and they should be entitled to see the fruits of what they have paid for. However, I can see the case for action to be taken as it is difficult for people that aren’t involved in these teams to compete. I am fortunate enough to have some good contacts in the sport and I have ridden at the highest level for some great connections but I know not everyone is that lucky. It will be an interesting time ahead for our sport if the debate continues in this way.