06th October 2017

Raring to go for the new season

We’re on the cusp of the start of autumn jump racing, with tracks like Exeter, Cheltenham, Wincanton, Huntingdon, Kempton and Chepstow poised to begin their seasons.

It’s a great time of year riding out and schooling at various different yards and getting to know all the different horses. It’s also a fresh start for me as at the beginning of the season I turned freelance and from mid October I also have a new sponsor on board with Citipost supporting me for the season ahead.

I was number two for Paul Nicholls since 2013 and rode over 100 winners, including Grade One wins. Paul gave me plenty of rides at Cheltenham and Aintree, and in Ireland and France too and it was a fantastic experience. I was really lucky to have his support for so long, and I will always be very grateful to him, and wish him every success for the season ahead.

There are nine winners on the board for me, which is a good start, and hopefully it will be a busy season. Riding out for several trainers is fascinating, as they all approach training in a different way, but with the same end goal of wanting happy, healthy and fit horses. It gives you a great insight into horses and training. Different regimes suit different horses, and while one might prefer an uphill gallop on the all-weather, another might thrive on working on grass. Some horses are trained from the field, while others love the routine of being stabled. They’re all different, and the good trainers will always try and find the key to unlocking their potential.

I’m really lucky to have the support of several trainers this season. Victor Dartnall has a super team of horses and I particularly like Run To Milan who has matured into a very nice horse and has been schooling well over hurdles. Jeremy Scott has a full yard with plenty of new horses, and Jeremy Barber has a team of 20 for his first season as a licensed trainer. He was very successful training point-to-pointers and I am sure he will make an equally good job of training under Rules. One horse I particularly like is King Kelvin.

I’ve picked up a few nice rides for Emma Lavelle and Paul Henderson has a super string including Un Beau Roman who won the BetVictor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting last year and he heads there again off the same mark. I schooled a very nice horse for Polly Gundry the other day called Different Gravey who was trained by Nicky Henderson. He’s won five, including his debut over fences at Ascot in November last year and he’s a decent prospect for the season ahead.

Last week the inaugural McCoys was held at Cheltenham Racecourse which celebrates the achievements of horse, trainers and jockeys The Jockey Club's South-West venues of Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick and Wincanton. It was really great and looks set to be a fantastic annual event. I’m sure it will become a highpoint in the social calendar.

Next week, I have a ban, so I will be up on Dartmoor, having a ride on the Clydesdales that will be back at Exeter on November 26.

Then on October 12 racing returns to Exeter and I am really looking forward to riding there. It’s unusual to have such nice ground in early October, and I am sure there will be plenty of decent runners there. There’s a lot to look forward to!