Hopes high for Walkon
Top jockey Wayne Hutchinson looks ahead to his rides this weekend and gives us his thoughts on Walkon's chance at Cheltenham.
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I shall start this week talking about Walkon, who runs for Alan [King] in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
There have been good vibes this week ahead of the race and his best runs do seem to be when he is fresh.
We know he acts around Cheltenham and is a Grade One winner over hurdles, and looking back through his form he was only a neck behind Grands Crus at the Cheltenham Festival in the RSA Chase off level weights.
Grands Crus may not have been quite right that day but Walkon now gets plenty of weight from him and I am sure he will acquit himself very well.
I have four rides myself up at Uttoxeter on Saturday and I kick-off on Classic Colori for David O'Meara in the opening novice hurdle.
He has not jumped a hurdle in public but I am excited to be riding for the stable as he is an up-and-coming trainer.
He knows where he is at with his horses so hopefully he can run a good race.
I ride Circus Star for Pam Sly in the handicap hurdle over two miles and I used to ride him out a couple of summers ago at Brian Meehan's stable.
I know a little bit about him and he was a stayer on the Flat - they have yet to find the key to him but he ran well last time when third over course and distance at the start of the month.
Hopefully he is learning his job over hurdles and can run well.
King Jack was a consistent sort for Richard Phillips last year but was pulled up on his last couple of starts and possibly in need of his summer break.
I think he will come back a fresh horse and it would be nice if he can recapture his form from midway through last season.
I don't know anything about Corres ahead of the maiden hurdle so will have to wait until the parade ring for my instructions.
Moving on to Sunday, Dolatulo is back over hurdles at Fontwell as connections just felt the race was up his street.
I schooled him on Friday morning, he went very well and is in great form so I think he will be my best ride of the weekend.
He is very tough and consistent so will probably swap between fences and hurdles over the winter as he is very versatile.
Looking back to last weekend, Rayadour was a little disappointing on his hurdles debut at Sandown but hopefully we can draw a line through that.
He jumped the first well but was cannoned into from behind and was never going from then and always on the back foot.
The ground was deep enough - I don't think he wants that either - so a combination of things did not go for him and we will start again.
Ranthambore ran well on the same card when second in the bumper and I think he is a horse that has had a few problems.
Warren [Greatrex, trainer] has him doing a lot of swimming and he ran a lovely race. He will go on the winter ground and he has shown enough to suggest he will be winning races in the future.