28th April 2017

The curtain comes down at Sandown Park tomorrow

John Ferguson’s Mount Vesuvius won the Exeter’s handicap hurdle well on Wednesday to begin his summer campaign on a winning note.

Exeter did a really good job watering the course. The size of the track means its very difficult to water, and there was a drying wind all day which didn’t help, but they did a tremendous job.

Yesterday Ut Majeur Aulmes ran a good third, probably a career best, in Perth’s Heineken UK Handicap Chase and today I’m on three for his trainer Victor Dartnall with My Matador, Get Wishing and Bindon Mill all running. I’m also on one for Chris Grant called Jacks Last Hope.

Last night a few of us went out to dinner in Perth. There are a lot of racing people around and it’s a lovely atmosphere. It’s a long trip so a lot of people stay up to enjoy the occasion.

Tomorrow the curtain comes down on the 2016-2017 jump racing season at Sandown Park when the champions will be crowned.

Richard Johnson wins the title for a second time. Its well deserved as he’s what being a champion is all about, going to all the meetings and giving his best day in and day out.

It looks like Nicky Henderson will collect the trainers’ title although I am sure Paul Nicholls will give it everything he has in order to retain the title. Altior, if he lines up, will be the star attraction.

On Saturday evening there will be a party or two and I will probably go to one, then I’ll be watching Anthony Joshua’s fight against Wladimir Klitschko as I am a bit of a boxing fan.

There have been a lot of small fields in recent weeks and its not great for the betting public or racing in general but there’s sure to be a good drop of rain in the next weeks – it normally coincides with the Devon County Show! The summer tracks, which are better geared up for watering, are getting going now and things should get back to normal.

From a personal point of view, I’ve had an injury free run which is great and I’ve ridden a few winners too. Passing the 400 winner mark was a good milestone and riding a grade one winner at Aintree on San Benedeto was a highlight.

The Punchestown Festival has been on this week and it was great for Harry Fry to have a double there with Unowhatimeanharry and Minella Awards along with Colin Tizzard who won the Guinness Handicap Chase with Sizing Granite. It’s really good to see English trainers go over there and have winners.

I enjoyed watching the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup with former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree taking on this year’s winner Sizing John and Djakadam, If they can all stay sound what a race the Gold Cup will be at Cheltenham next year.

There’s a day off on Sunday, and then the new season kicks off at Warwick and Kempton on Monday. Hopefully I will have a good run of it and stay sound for as long as I can.