I don’t need to tell you that it’s pretty much all about the Cheltenham Festival right now and that’s all anyone wants to talk about. It’s an exciting time alright and, I’m hoping to pick up some nice rides but it’s difficult to be certain about my plans for next week. I have ridden plenty of horses this season that will be appearing at the festival and a good few of them were winners too. That doesn’t mean I will be on them at Cheltenham though and a lot of things are outside my control. For example, I was fortunate enough to deputise for Bryan Cooper in the Gigginstown colours a few times this year but he is back in good shape and will have first choice on a strong team. My Cheltenham will depend on jockey bookings, owners wishes, trainer relationships, horse partnerships that I have built or not built and that’s before you even consider the uncertainty of which race each horse will run in or if they even get there!
That’s what makes it all the more exciting I suppose, one man’s luck is another’s bad luck but I would wouldn’t change it for the world and I’m looking forward to getting there. I will head over on Sunday with a few of the other jockeys after racing at Naas. It’s a massive operation for the big yards from Ireland. Trainers like Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Henry De Bromhead need to take their horses to the racecourse in advance of race day to give them enough time to recover from the long journey. Each horse then needs to be looked after and exercised so that they peak as individuals on the right day. It’s a lot of work for everyone involved and the Irish jockeys will usually be found exercising the week’s runners early in the morning. My father (Thomas Mullins) will be taking over Scoir Mear so I could be riding him each morning but even my non-race plans aren’t fully confirmed yet!
One that I will be riding is Brain Power for Nicky Henderson. I schooled him at Seven Barrows on Friday morning and he was brilliant. I think he is a big price in a very open race, if he gets some reasonable ground he will take a lot of beating, he is a straight forward character and he is improving all the time. I think the Champion Hurdle will suit him, we haven’t seen his limit yet.
I should be on board Some Plan in the Arkle and with a Grade One under his belt last time he heads there with the right profile. Monalee will take his chance in the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett but which one will depend on how the races are looking next week. He’s a chaser in the making but I think he has a good chance in either race next week.
I will be making my Gold Cup debut next Friday and for me, Cue Card heads the field with some exceptional form. However, as he showed at the top of the hill last year, anything can happen and I’m hoping it can! Good luck to everyone involved!
Next week I will be doing a joint interview with Paul Townend every day. Catch it all on RacingFX Facebook and Twitter.