Saturday 18th December
West Cork’s race went very fast. I was making my ground up from three-out and just got caught a little bit wide. I hold my hands up for that, but it certainly didn’t cost him the race. I did feel he ‘bounced’ a little bit because after two-out he weakened out of it and had nothing left to give, which isn’t like him. What you saw at Cheltenham was a good stayer at two miles. I’d put a line through this run as we’ve seen he’s better than that. He’ll now go straight for the County Hurdle, where I think he will run very well and finish strongly as he hits the rising ground, as he did in the Greatwood.
We were happy with Knight In Dubai’s run. He ran well and just weakened out of it from two-out. Probably the trip was just a bit on the short side and the ground may have been too dry for him. We’ll try and find a race for him over an intermediate trip on a bit slower ground and I think his time will come very soon.
Friday 17th December
The race was run very slowly for Elle Est Belle at Ascot and I had to take a lead, as she’s a horse that wouldn’t be suited by being in front. Ultimately, she was outpaced turning in and then stayed on nicely from the back of the last. I feel that with a good, strong pace I may have been second. Nothing’s lost as she went round and got some more experience that will stand her in good stead. She definitely looks now that she wants a step up in trip to two-and-a-half miles. I think the race will work out well, there were a lot of decent horses in there.
You couldn’t help but be impressed by Jonbon. He’s three from three under rules now and he was impressive again at Ascot. He looks very straightforward and nothing he has faced yet has got him off the bridle. I’m sure connections will now be looking forward to the Supreme Novices’ at the Cheltenham Festival.
Faivoir ran well again, as he always does, he just bumped into a good horse on the day in Pic D’Orhy. He jumped a bit out to his left, so we may have to look to find a race going the other way around. We’re not grumbling, he ran well, he’s been ultra-consistent and is a credit to himself.
Thursday 16th December
I was very happy with Lac De Constance at Exeter. He was one I mentioned had a good chance in my blog last week, so I’m glad he came home for the readers. Last year he was a bit weak in his bumpers, but he’s a big horse and will only get better with time. He couldn’t have shown us anymore than he did at Exeter. Where we go next, we’re not sure, but it might be another small race and then look for something a bit better. There’s a two-mile Listed race back at Exeter, so that’s something we will keep in mind.
Wednesday 15th December
Sholokjack got the job done at Leicester. He has got quite a lot of ability; we’ve just got to channel it in the right way. You saw him win at two miles but he’s definitely a stayer in the making. He came through the race very well, but just made a few novicey mistakes. I think that’s down to a lack of experience and his brain working a bit faster than his legs at the moment! With racing that should settle down and if we can keep a lid on him, I hope one day he’ll be a good chaser.
Tuesday 14th December
The week started at Catterick with a winner in Kracka Nut. The race went very fast up front and I dropped him in as we always do with our bumper horses, to make sure they settle. He went through the race quite nicely and came home well too. He jumps nicely but I would have thought we’ll stay in bumpers this year as he’s only four-years-old. He looks to have a good future ahead of him.
Kracka Nut was another winner for Blue Bresil, who is doing quite well as a sire and his progeny show a good attitude and are easy to deal with.
There’s obviously not very much racing. I’ll be at Ludlow on Wednesday, where I have four rides. If I had to pick one of them, I’d say keep an eye out for Frere D’Armes, who runs in the two-mile novices’ hurdle.
It was absolutely brilliant for Rachael Blackmore to win World Sports Star at the Sports Personality of the Year. She’s very humble, dedicated and a complete professional, which is why she’s achieving what she is. She has done masses for racing, especially outside the racing bubble, as she has been recognised by the wider world. She’s a credit to herself and I’m sure everyone in racing is delighted for her.
Christmas is fast approaching and everyone in the yard is getting into the Christmas spirit. We all went out last week for our Christmas party and had good fun at The Phoenix in Stratford. Everyone’s looking forward to Christmas, but it’s a tough time for the staff to be honest, as we’ve all got the horses to look after, and animals come first. We’re lucky we’ve got a dedicated team that give their hearts and souls to the horses and we’re very grateful for what all the staff do, especially over the festive period.