I am on slightly better form this Monday afternoon than last! I was anxious to keep the ball rolling last week following a luckless weekend. Thankfully I shared a good double with Henry De Bromhead at Naas yesterday afternoon. To be honest, if you had asked me about my chances on Sunday morning I would have been disappointed not to have had at least one winner.
It hasn’t been a bad weekend overall. It started off at Chepstow on Saturday on a horse called Jury Duty for Gordon Elliott. I ride out for Gordon once or twice a week and when my agent jocked me up for the ride I was very happy to go. I love riding in England and not only is Chepstow a short run from Bristol airport but I really thought Jury Duty would go close too. He ran a bit fresh with me having not run in a while and got a bit tired late on in the race. He’s qualified for the Pertemps Hurdle at Cheltenham now and I would expect him to improve a bit for that run. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is back on the boat to England in just over two weeks.
Straight back to Ireland on Saturday night with a couple of good prospects waiting for me at Naas on Sunday. On reflection, the races panned out as the odds suggested they would with my long shots finishing down the field. I was able to dictate from the front on both winners. Henry’s horses are always fit and they jump very well which puts me in a good position as a jockey. Obviously, every horse is different and they don’t have to make the running but Henry often likes me to be positive to the first and make a plan from there. That way if I end up in front it’s not a problem, it’s all about keeping things simple.
The first winner came with Adreamstillalive and she likes to keep a bit up her sleeve. I knew once another horse came to me that she would pull out more and she duly did. As for the other fella, I couldn’t believe how far clear we were turning in but he got in under the last which slowed us up. Thankfully the second horse couldn’t bridge the gap and looked pretty tired.
Any winner is good and they all give me a buzz but it’s important to take opportunities in the better races so I am pleased to win another graded race on board Alisier D’Irlande. He brought up a double for me on the day and my 40th winner of the season in Ireland, a career best tally for me so far. I hadn’t really thought about it until I started today’s blog but even though it’s a nice milestone to reach, that’s all it is and a few more would be better!
It’s also well worth considering some less fortunate colleagues following the weekend’s action. I wish Barry Geraghty and George Baker a quick and full recovery after falls at Kempton and St Moritz. Get well soon lads.