Our columnist talks through his three rides at Haydock on Betfair Chase day including favourite Bravemansgame in the feature event.
Saturday's going to be a very exciting but it's not all about the Betfair Chase as I ride a couple of lovely young horses for Simon (Munir) and Isaac (Souede) before that and they're obviously really important as well.
I Love My Baie is up in grade but I'm looking forward to riding him. His last run, the comeback at Ayr, was his best run and I think the ground up at Haydock will be spot-on for him. He's got to improve again to be really competitive but he's a horse on an upward curve.
I love this horse, I think Carnfunnock will hopefully do me proud this year. I suspect he's going to be an even better chaser than hurdler but I hope he can win a nice race or two over hurdles before then.
I sat on him at home last week and he's in really good form with himself. I think he's still a little bit ahead of the handicapper so he goes there with a live chance back down to two and a half miles.
To get the call-up on one of the best staying chasers in the UK is wonderful. He won the King George and finished second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season and is a phenomenal horse and I feel hugely privileged and excited – I can’t wait for Saturday.
I schooled him on Monday and like all the superstars he’s very uncomplicated and gave me a lovely feel. I jumped plenty of hurdles and the mini-ditches at Dicheat and he’s a very athletic and well-balanced horse. There’s lot of power behind him and Harry Cobden has had some really fine days on him and I can see why having had a sit on him.
I've tasted success in the Betfair Chase before aboard the brilliant Bristol De Mai and, like Bravemansgame, he was a very powerful horse and a solid stayer who acted very well on flat tracks.
This fellow ran a cracker at Cheltenham in March but he showed how he handles flat tracks himself at Kempton and has a nice bit of speed. He’s a very professional jumper, he has it all really.
Haydock seems to be like my back-garden at the moment – I always seem to be up there and have had some wonderful days at the track. To get another big ride in the Betfair Chase is hugely exciting for me. I absolutely love this race – I looked forward to every year with Bristol – and I didn’t think I’d have a ride this time around.
To pick up Bravemansgame is wonderful and I’m very grateful to Paul and the owners for giving me this chance. Paul and I have always got on great and I've ridden out there for years.
Having seen the final declarations, there are no real surprises and it's a trappy little race. Protektorat was very, very good in the race last year and if he reproduces that form he's going to be bang there. It's going to be a hard race to win and tactically it's never easy.
Royale Pagaille is a good horse on his day too and loves it around Haydock, while Corach Rambler is a high-class stayer who is likely to step forward from his comeback run at Kelso.
Hopefully the weather forecast is in our favour so that's encouraging. In the past I've often come into this hoping for rain with Bristol but it's not the case for Bravemansgame this year. Hopefully we get a clear round and the horse shows what he can do.
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