10th December 2014

AP McCoy Blog – Its great to be back at Cheltenham

10th December 2014

I know it is the third meeting of the season at Cheltenham coming up this weekend, but it will be the first for me after missing The Showcase and The Open through injury. I am really looking forward to getting back as Cheltenham is special to every jockey riding and it is where we all want to have winners.

The weighing room and a few other things have changed since I was last there so it will be nice to get back. The reports I have heard from the lads about the weighing room have all been very positive and it is great to have it modernised. In fairness Cheltenham have always led the way in the manner in which they look after the jockeys, and having not ridden there since April, I am looking forward to it.

At this stage I know that I will be riding Hargam in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial on Saturday. He was second at The Open and could come on for that, which was his first start for Nicky Henderson. I will also be on Bold Henry for Philip Hobbs in the Jenny Mould Memorial Handicap Chase on Saturday. He actually won at the The Open and will appreciate returning to the track after helping to give Philip an amazing six winners that weekend.

I am not sure what I will be on in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup but I think Paul Nicholls’ Caid Du Berlais is the one to beat in that race given the way he won the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

The other feature race on Saturday, the StanJames.com International Hurdle, had to be reopened, and for The New One to be a serious contender for this season’s Champion Hurdle then he needs to be winning this again. He is up against the likes of Sign Of A Victory, who is basically a handicapper, so he wants to be winning. There isn’t a lot between the top of those in the Stan James Champion Hurdle betting, including Jezki, and the form is there for everyone to see. There is no doubt in my mind that Faugheen looks the young pretender coming through and the one you’d be most frightened of. While mentioning him I have to say I thought Vautour looked something special on his chasing debut at Navan. I was at Sandown on Saturday and no disrespect to Vibrato Valtat and those who ran in the Henry VIII Novice Chase, but Vautour looks a long way ahead of them, and it will be no shock to see Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls dominate at the end of the season as they have done for a long time.

It was good to see Dodging Bullets come out and win the Tingle Creek over the weekend – even though he beat me on Somersby – as JP McManus’s Uxizandre beat him at The Open in the Shloer Chase. I wasn’t riding at the time with the injury, and even if I had  been riding, I would have been on Jezki in Ireland but I was annoyed to miss being on him. With what has happened to Spinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy I don’t think it is the strongest two-mile division, and it looks more open than we have seen for a long time. Uxizandre will go to Leopardstown over Christmas as he has to go left-handed and hopefully he can keep on progressing.

Somersby ran a good race to be second in the Tingle Creek and I did have two other winners on the Sandown card – Snake Eyes and Cup Final. It was great for Snake Eyes to break his maiden in a £60,000 race and he could now go to the Ladbroke at Ascot on Saturday week or wait for the big handicap hurdle at Leopardstown in the New Year.

I will probably be at Leopardstown for much for the Christmas period with the likes of Uxizandre and Jezki running there, and there will be plenty of others like Carlingford Lough to ride. I am not sure what I will do for the King George at Kempton but Holywell is a possible runner. If he does run and I am at Kempton then I am likely to be riding him but Silviniaco Conti sets the standard there. I know Champagne Fever was impressive when winning at Clonmel but I do think he has to improve a bit to beat Silviniaco Conti.

I want to say how pleased I was with Merry King in the Hennessy.  Some of Jonjo O’Neill’s horses aren’t firing but he ran a blinder to be third. More Of That was disappointing in the Long Distance Hurdle and he did feel lethargic during the race. It was a shame he was beaten but is now off for a wind operation and I do think it is better that issue came to light earlier on in the season than later on when the big races are.

My downtime with injury has given me plenty of time to get involved in my wellbeing and sports supplements products which I mention earlier this year. The products include Supreme and Diet Wheys, Fat Burners, Pre-workout Powders, Mass Gainers, Multi-vitamins, Ketones, Creatines, Testosterone Boosters amongst others so there is plenty to go at. I developed them for my own use initially but they are great for all sorts of training, and you can find out more at www.aceperformanceltd.com.

After Cheltenham this Saturday I am off to Navan for racing on Sunday and then hope to fly back via Glasgow for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year. It is nice to see Charlotte Dujardin nominated for her Dressage achievements but I do think that Rory McIlroy will win after his two Majors this year including his Open victory.

Before we get to Christmas we have the Lesters to look forward to on Monday week and there is always a great atmosphere there as everyone can enjoy themselves knowing there is no racing the following day. It’s a great evening will be a bit of a Christmas party for us all.

I do hope you have a great time over Christmas and look forward to see you at Cheltenham this weekend. If you have a moment, check out the video below, which is the campaign for #TheFestival in March. Some really fun clips from loads of different people, shame I’m not in it!