10th March 2018

“It would be a dream come true if Black Corton won at The Cheltenham Festival next week”

We’re in the final furlong and there’s a buzz about the yard, but we’re staying focused on the job because we’re nearly there now. I’m riding Black Corton in the RSA on Wednesday. He’s very well and his summer coat has come through. He was shining in the sunshine yesterday telling me what to do. He’s in good stead and he's feeling well. I ride him every day, and I’m very protective over him! We’ve just got to get there on Wednesday now. It’s fine tuning everything now making sure the strings are finely tuned and at the right tension to produce the right notes on the day, and that’s all down to Paul (Nicholls) and Clifford Baker. It would be a dream come true if we could strike again as we’ve built up a lovely partnership. It will be his tallest order to date.

I hope to team up with Paul in the boys’ race too but I don’t know yet. It’s a very tight race and a lot will struggle to get in the handicap. We’ll  see what can get in from our team and hopefully I will partner one of them.

Riding day to day is all I am really interested in but I’ve got a few thoughts on next week’s runners. If the ground stays tacky and testing Native River will relish that in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup as the more stamina that comes into play, the more it will benefit him. He was impressive on his prep run and he comes to the race in good stead as he’s fresh and happy. Might Bite has all the ability in the world and our own Saphir Du Rheu, fifth in it last year, will put his best foot forward when he gets to Cheltenham and he wasn’t beaten far last year. I think Minella Rocco will go really well and is a good each way bet.  He was second last year, staying on like a train. It’s a shame that last year’s winner Sizing John is out - that’s a huge blow to his connections.

In the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, if Douvan is anything like as good as his old self he could serve it up to Altior, if he comes with that same ability we know he has. It will be an awesome race to watch. Our own Politologue will give everything he’s got and he will do much better in a strongly run race where he can just sit in behind.

If his mechanics stay safe and he jumps like he does and he goes like we know he can, Buveur D’Air is the one to beat in the Unibet Champion Hurdle and I can’t see much threatening his authority.

Old Guard is our flag bearer for the team in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle and Harry (Cobden) rides him for the same owners as Black Corton who go to the Festival with two reliable horses. I know they are really looking forward to their week. In that race Lil Rockerfella is a really game horse, it would be silly to ignore My Tent Or Yours and if The New One won it would bring the house down. That would be fantastic. It’s one of your most open races out of the big races at the meeting and will be great to watch.

Philip Hobbs’ team are just bubbling nicely to form and I think Louis Vac Pouch in the Pertemps Network Final has a massive chance. He won at Aintree in November and hasn’t been seen since. That form has to be the strongest horses going into the race.

So we’re nearly there now, and the wait is just about over. Winning on Moabit at Wincanton on Thursday was great - we’re all bubbling along nicely. Have a great Festival, and don’t forget, give me and Blackie a wave and a cheer if you see us on Wednesday.