The leading jockey brings us up to speed on his life in the saddle in his latest column, including Terrefort's return, before assessing his Saturday rides at Ascot.
I was pencilled in for a trip to Musselburgh on Friday but they’ve all ended up being non-runners so I’m off to Nicky Henderson’s to work a few instead – including a classy horse you might’ve forgotten about.
I’ll be schooling L’Ami Serge and Janika, as well, ahead of his run on Saturday, while I’ll have a sit and a school on TERREFORT, too, as he builds up towards getting back out on the racecourse following a lengthy absence.
He hasn’t been seen since being pulled up in the 2019 Ryanair Chase as he had cancer in his eye and a bit of a leg, so he’s had almost two years off, but he’s still only eight and is on the way back.
We’re really happy with him. He’s back in full training at Seven Barrows and doing really well, week-by-week he’s stepping up his regime and I think he could be out in the next three weeks.
He was a dual Grade One winner as a novice and beat Cyrname at Sandown, so it would be lovely if he could come back to something like his best. He’s already got a few big entries at Cheltenham but we’ll just get him back out first and take things from there.
I had a nice winner at Newbury in the bumper on Wednesday aboard FINE CASTING for Ben Pauling.
He’s a lovely type of horse and is learning with every race. He’s an exciting prospect to go novice hurdling with next season and I liked how he finished second to a nice horse of Harry Fry’s at Warwick last time [Might I]. I know Harry likes his horse.
Wednesday’s performance was good, you don’t get many bad Newbury bumpers and the first and second pulled a long way clear of the third so that’s a good sign.
He could step up in grade later in the season and the Aintree bumper looks ideal for him. He’s an ideal horse for those better kind of races as he needs a proper gallop.
January has been a good month for me so far with plenty of winners in the bank.
I feel good and as if the horses are running for me at the moment, I’m happy with how they’re jumping and galloping so hopefully that can continue at Ascot on Saturday.
I like Ascot. It’s a nice fair track, the ground is obviously going to be very testing and you’ll need a good strong horse to prevail. It should provide some good sport.
He’s had a wind operation done and he’s 13lb lower over hurdles than he is over fences. Hopefully he can transfer some of that fencing ability into this race.
It’s a lot of weight and a good concession for him in a valuable race and a good option for him on his comeback rather than running off 160 in a handicap chase.
He’s a lovely quick jumper, so I don’t think it’ll make a difference to him in that he’s jumping hurdles instead of fences. With that in mind he must have a good each-way chance.
He has been a bit disappointing and we’re trying a tongue-strap on him now. At least the handicapper has dropped him 6lb since his last run and he ran okay in that race without setting the world alight.
We’re sure there is ability in there. He did win a few races over in France, but he needs to start showing it now he’s had a couple of runs over here.
He ran in the Caspian Caviar and ran well in fourth, but he missed a couple of fences and can sharpen up in that department.
I like how he stayed on that day, though, he has plenty more to give and coming down a couple of pounds will help him, as well.
A repeat of that performance can see him run well and if he improves on it he has a winning chance. I think he just needed that experience of running in a big-field handicap and now he’s got that under his belt he could well sharpen up in one or two key areas.
I think it will have brought him along mentally, he’s got good form behind the likes of Master Tommytucker this season, and I just need to get him into a good rhythm.
I can’t wait to ride him on Saturday.
It’s great to get on a spare ride in the Grade One Clarence House Chase and although I’ve never ridden him I’ve been watching his races closely this season.
There were plenty of positives to take from his runs at Cheltenham and Kempton, he just looks like he needs to relax a little bit so hopefully I can get him settled early doors.
It will obviously be tough to beat the likes of Politologue, but he’s still relatively lightly-raced so the aim will be to get him settled, hopefully get him to finish his race off strongly, and see where that takes us.
I worked him during the week at Alan King’s and he’s in great form.
The extended 2m5f trip will be right up his street. The ground was too quick for him at Ludlow so you can put a line through that and then last time we went no gallop at Sandown and it turned into a bit of a sprint which didn’t suit.
Everything looks in his favour on Saturday and I really like this horse. He’s going to be a smashing chaser further down the line but he’s still got some unfinished business over hurdles.