It's been a good week for Daryl Jacob with Janika and Simply The Betts winning. Get his thoughts on those horses as well as Wincanton ride Fusil Raffles on Saturday.
Fusil flying ahead of Elite Hurdle
I go to Wincanton on Saturday to ride Fusil Raffles in the Grade Two Unibet Elite Hurdle and he seemed in really good form when I schooled him on Thursday morning.
We have to have a starting point somewhere and though it can be a tough year for four-year-olds we need to know where we are with him really, whether he could be a Champion Hurdle horse or a horse we need to look after with a view to going chasing in the future.
It's a big learning curve for him, he has only had two runs in England and with our set up we like to learn about these horses and find out a bit about them for the future.
I can see why there’s some Champion Hurdle chat about him. I sat on him for the first time this season three weeks ago and I couldn’t believe the horse I was sitting on, he’s grown, he’s filled out, he’s a real monster of a horse.
The Champion Hurdle division looks wide open so I think it’s a good shout to try and go down this route with him and see where we are.
Other Saturday rides
In the Richard Barber Memorial Mares' Handicap Hurdle I ride Kalahari Queen for Jamie Snowden and she's a nice ride to pick up.
She's gone well fresh in the past and is back over hurdles having gone novice chasing last season.
She was an improving hurdler when last seen and was second to subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Roksana on her last start over hurdles, so there could be further room for improvement from her in the sphere.
I also ride Whisper for Sam Thomas in the Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap.
He's had his problems and is 11 now, but he's still rated pretty highly despite dropping a few pounds and has a tough task off top weight.
We'll try and get him jumping and enjoying it, getting him into a rhythm, as we know he was a class act in the past.
Top Notch heads to Liverpool
Top Notch goes for the 2m4f conditions hurdle at Aintree on Saturday so I won’t be riding him but I schooled him on Thursday morning and he jumped his hurdles really well.
Normally he needs his first run a little bit but it depends what kind of race it turns out like, so I’ll be closely watching him up there with Nico de Boinville, who knows him well, riding. He’s one of my favourite horses in training.
Hopefully he can go very close.
Carlisle on Monday for Ballymoy
I think the plan is for Ballymoy to miss Wincanton and go for a 2m4f novice chase at Carlisle on Monday.
That’s his likely destination and he was a good second at Warwick last time on ground that was too lively for him against a nice horse of Dan Skelton’s that has come out and bolted up since at Fakenham.
We’re very much looking forward to him, Carlisle’s a great track and the ground up there was lovely last time, so hopefully they’ll get a bit more rain up there and he can go well.
Janika gives me the Tingles
We were delighted with Janika, after last year with him going up in the handicap we weren’t sure where we were with him.
He’s a relatively young horse, he’s had a summer’s break and he’s done well. We ran him in the Haldon Gold Cup as we wanted to see what options we had with him, whether we could go over two miles or whether we should go up in trip.
There’s a strong possibility Janika goes for the Tingle Creek.
It was a fact-finding mission, it’s a stiff two-mile one down at Exeter and with the soft ground the course suited him well and played to his strengths.
I think we’ve a few angles covered for the two-mile division now. If it’s soft or heavy ground for the Tingle Creek and things like that we’ve got Janika because he’s a very good jumper and on testing ground around Sandown they’re not going to go too fast and get away from him.
His jumping is very good and will stand him in good stead for the Railway fences at Sandown.
Obviously we have Sceau Royal as well who is a top-class two-mile horse but he doesn’t want the ground too soft, so we have both angles covered.
You look at that two-mile division and it’s wide open, I’ve been hearing Politologue is going up in trip and Altior’s going up in trip so Janika and Sceau Royal fit in nicely.
Simply success at Chepstow
I was delighted with Simply The Betts at Chepstow on Wednesday who won for trainer Harry Whittington.
I rode him in a novice hurdle around Warwick maybe 18 months ago and I thought he was a fine animal back then. The ground was way too quick for him that day so I just nursed him around and he won nicely.
He’s obviously had time off and he came nicely back at Chepstow. I worked him at Lambourn about two weeks ago and I was impressed with what I sat on, so I sort of knew he was well handicapped for his chasing debut.
It’s unlucky for Gavin Sheehan who has had to miss a few days with injury, as he’s his ride, and I’ve been lucky enough to get on him.
I was very impressed with him, obviously the handicapper is going to react and give him six or seven pounds but he’s a horse that feels a lot better than he did back when I rode him a few years ago.
I think he’s going to be an exciting horse for the year.