Daryl Jacob won on his first ride back from injury this week and he's looking forward to three rides at Kempton on Saturday including Top Notch.
It felt like I’d never been away when winning on Dragon D’Estruval on my first ride for a month at Ludlow on Wednesday.
That feeling of winning on a racehorse made everything okay again after four weeks of wanting to get back out there but being unable to because of a broken hand.
The people at Oaksey House were absolutely fantastic during my recovery and the facility is absolutely invaluable to us jockeys, but I can’t tell you how delighted I was on Wednesday to be back out on the racetrack rather than hitting the treadmill in the gym.
Dragon was good. He had a bit to prove after failing to stay in the voided London National, but the drop back in trip helped him in that regard.
The key, though, for me, was the better ground. A bit of good to soft, that’s what he wants. He jumped and travelled on it and he picked up well for me when I asked him to go and get Another Stowaway.
He only won a couple of lengths, so I wouldn’t expect the handicapper to go crazy, perhaps mid 140s. That means he’ll have to step up again next time but I like him. He might be a Becher horse in the future.
I went over to Ireland for a non runner on Thursday so had the pleasure of staying in Rochdale that night to break up my journey to Sedgefield – it’s all glamour being a jockey you know!
My big target to get back riding again this week, however, was Top Notch, an incentive to get the green light from the doctor if ever there was one.
He’s a terrific horse, a real trier that gets the most out of his ability. That’s the type of horse I love as a jockey as I know he’s always going to put in that extra effort for me, he’d run through a brick wall for you.
This season he’s two from two and he goes into the Unibet Silviniaco Conti Chase in great form, so I’m really looking forward to it, I’m sure he’ll go well.
He won the race last year so the track and trip are perfect, but I have to admit I’m a little bit surprised to see he’s the odds-on favourite, it looks a better race than the market suggests to me.
Frodon is actually rated 7lb better than Notchy and we’re off level weights, so he’s a massive danger if back to his best and Kauto Riko is a good horse, too, he was only three-quarters-of-a-length behind my lad at Huntingdon.
The opposition deserve respect, but having said that I wouldn’t swap Top Notch for anything.
Earlier on Goa Lil runs in the Read Nicky Henderson’s Unibet Blog Juvenile Hurdle and he’s an improving four-year-old.
He ran okay at Kempton at the Christmas meeting when fourth under Sam Twiston-Davies and I liked the way he settled that day. Hopefully he can improve again and get competitive.
Finally, I ride Echiquier in the Unibet Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle and I’d give him a squeak in what doesn’t look the strongest renewal of the race.
When I last rode him at Haydock I felt he didn’t quite stay over three miles in a fastly-run race but this intermediate trip on better ground than he faced at Southwell last time will benefit him.
He’s dropped 6lb in three runs so I’d say he’s handicapped to go well if he can get back to the sort of form that saw him finish fifth behind Thyme Hill in the Persian War at Chepstow.
On his form earlier in the season we’d be hopeful and I think he’ll like the trip and track.