Daryl Jacob talks about his rides for the Grand National meeting at Aintree including Bristol De Mai in the feature and why he chose Call Me Lord in the Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle.
I’m really excited about riding Bristol De Mai in the Randox Grand National. I’d say it’s been the plan for nearly two years, really.
He was all set to go for it last year until it was called off and as soon as we sat down at the start of the season the Grand National was the goal.
Things started off well when we beat Clan Des Obeaux in the Betfair Chase and the plan was always Aintree via the Cotswold Chase. We obviously thought that would be at Cheltenham but we ended up at Sandown where we bumped into an on-song Native River, there was no shame in that and he’s been kept fresh for this since.
I went down to school him at Nigel Twiston-Davies’ over the National fences as you can see in the video below and he really did feel great that day, eyeing up his obstacles really well.
He’s the class horse in the race and I haven’t ridden a horse of his quality in the National since winning it on Neptune Collonges in 2012.
I absolutely love him, he’s been a great horse for us and it’s both a brave and wonderful shout from the whole team to run him in this race. I’m so glad we’ve taken a punt and I hope he can reward us with a bold showing.
I’ll just be trying to find a nice rhythm on him early doors, stay out of trouble and let the horse enjoy it. I know he stays and I know he fights, so they’re two pretty good attributes in this race.
Monte Cristo had a great run around Cheltenham in the Coral Cup and could’ve even been second or third but for being hampered by a faller at the last.
The good thing is he came out of it well and I actually think he goes into the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle in better form than he did Cheltenham. I’m excited about him and think he has a good chance.
You’ve got to put a line through his Cheltenham run. It was a standing start and he just got left behind, running on really well for seventh up the hill – a great run considering what happened at the beginning.
I’ve always thought a lot of him. I’ve schooled him over the Aintree-style fences in Lambourn and he loved them, so we go to the Randox Topham Handicap Chase with a lot of hope. Obviously you need plenty to go right for you in a race like that, but it would be great if he could finish off his season with a big win in a big race.
The Cob disappointed in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham after being supplemented for the race following his victory in the Grade Two River Don at Doncaster the time before. For whatever reason he didn’t come down the hill very well, but he seemed in good form when I schooled him on Wednesday morning.
He wears first-time cheekpieces and they’re on in a bid to help him concentrate a bit better. He’s going to be a nice chaser next season whatever happens, but we’ll be hoping he can end his hurdling campaign on a high.
Janika runs in the EFT Systems Handicap Hurdle over three miles. He ran really well under James Bowen in the Coral Cup where he was fifth running on well up the hill. I don’t think stepping up in trip will be a problem to him and he’s a lot lower in the weights over hurdles than what he is over fences which gives him a chance.
He’s obviously been a difficult horse to place but he’s in good form at home and I’d give him a squeak in this off his hurdles rating.
I had the choice between Call Me Lord and If The Cap Fits in the Grade One Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle and decided to ride the former. I just think stepping up to three miles for the first time could unlock more in this horse.
He’s had wind surgery, he ran a nice race at Fontwell on the back of it so we’re hoping for a bit more this time. That trip would be sharp enough for him and I think he needs three miles now.
He looks magnificent at home and he’ll love the good ground.