Daryl Jacob hopes he can round off his season with a Grade One high as Sceau Royal goes for the Celebration Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
It would be fantastic to end the season with a big win in a Grade 1 and SCEAU ROYAL gives us a chance of doing just that in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
He’s doing really well, I schooled him on Monday and was very happy with him. When I went into the stables he nearly took my head off which is a good sign! I know he’s in good form when he’s that feisty.
Alan King’s done a magnificent job in keeping him really fresh all year long which is some going considering he was out winning the Welsh Champion Hurdle in the middle of October.
He’s had seven runs this season but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. He’s fit and well and we go into it with confidence – if he hadn’t been hampered in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham I believe he would’ve gone very close.
Hopefully on Saturday he can prove it and get compensation by beating Put The Kettle On. Her presence adds spice to the race, it’s very interesting she comes here instead of staying at home for Punchestown but at least nobody can say this is a weak renewal.
Indeed, there’s Altior in there as well, a true champion, so it’s all set up to be a cracking contest. Hopefully Sceau Royal can come out on top – he’s got his ground and he likes Sandown so there will be no excuses.
CALL ME LORD goes for his second win in the bet365 Select Hurdle and his third win on this jumps finale card and he’s in really good form at home.
I schooled him the other morning and he worked nicely, we know he loves Sandown and this trip and ground are spot on for him, as well.
He actually ran a nice race at Aintree last time when fifth to Thyme Hill at a huge price and this race wouldn’t be as tough for him as that one was.
With everything in his favour hopefully he can finish the season on a high.
I’ve really enjoyed the Sandown card that ends the season in the past, it’s a great time to reflect and congratulate those that have become champions again.
My old boss Paul Nicholls is an absolute master of his craft and what an unbelievable achievement that he’s becoming champion trainer for the 12th time.
While that’s a familiar tale we’re crowning a new champion jockey in Harry Skelton who has had an incredible end to the year along with his brother, Dan.
It’s a fantastic story with Dan supplying him with so many winners and Harry’s been travelling the length and breadth of the country to achieve what I’m sure is a dream come true for him.
He takes over from Brian Hughes following a tense battle with him and it’s a good time to remember the man who won it four years in succession before that, Richard Johnson.
It might only be three weeks since he retired but the hole in the weighing room is still there and I hope we can celebrate his career achievements – which were magnificent - on Saturday, too.
When I look back on the 2020-21 campaign it’s certainly been a strange one with no crowds and Richard retiring – he’s left me as one of the elder statesmen in the weighing room but I’m not thinking of hanging up the riding boots just yet!
I’ll be back riding for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede next year and I’ll be riding more often for Harry Whittington when I’m not required for the Double Green so there is plenty to look forward to.
I’ve had 54 winners, so I’m delighted to get over the 50 mark again and if I had to pick out one high point it would be Bristol De Mai winning the Betfair Chase again, that was brilliant.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for him in the Grand National, everything just happened too quickly for him, but he came out of it fine and he’ll be pointed at the Betfair Chase again. And we all know he loves that race!