You know you’ve got a good chance when you see your name against a Colin Tizzard horse in a big Saturday race.
I’m on Sizing Codelco in the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick and we look to have as good a chance as any in the race.
Colin has enjoyed a fantastic Christmas and New Year, winning or being placed in many of the top races, and hopefully that run can continue in what is traditionally one of the big staying chases of the year.
The three-mile-five-furlong marathon is usually a real slog as it’s normally run on very testing ground, but we’re facing good going here and it might not be as highly competitive as it usually is.
That said it will take some winning and with Sizing Codelco, I am on a horse who is proven over the longer trips and also has that touch of class. After all, he was fourth, not beaten far by Might Bite in the Betway Bowl at Aintree in April. He was second on good ground in a valuable handicap at Uttoxeter on his last start and looks to have all the necessary attributes for this.
The Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle looks like being a stronger renewal than normal so I’m under no illusions as to how difficult it will be to win.
Finawn Bawn is a really nice horse who won very nicely at Bangor last time. I won on him on his debut in a bumper, and he looks to have progressed with his two runs since.
The two-mile-five-furlong trip will be ideal, as will the ground, but all his six rivals look to be in with a chance.
Bright New Dawn has his first run for Olly Murphy in the racingtv.com Edward Courage Cup Handicap Chase.
I have ridden him before and he is not the most straightforward of horses and is not getting any younger either, given he’s 12. But he does have some good form in the book and if he behaves himself on his first run for new connections, this could well be the best time to catch him.
Blaklion’s participation in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle has pushed Perfect Man to a couple of pounds out of the handicap, but the light weight could bring out the best in him, and the trip and track will suit so I wouldn’t rule him out either.
My final ride is on Pour Joie in the Racing TV Free For A Month "Newcomers" Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. It’s his first run so I don’t know anything about him, but the fact that Ian Williams is a trainer is good enough for me.
Jockey on the month accolade:
This week, I was delighted to win the Stobart Jockey of the Month award. I’d never been nominated before so to actually win it shows I must have been doing something right.
The winners have been flowing nicely and the highlight was obviously Paisley Park’s win at Ascot, my first Grade 1 win. He looks Britain’s big hope for the Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle and fingers crossed it all goes well in the lead-up.
Houblon a hero:
Finally, I was delighted to see Houblon Des Obeaux win the Veterans Final at Sandown – the culmination of what is a brilliant series.
I’ve ridden Houblon 31 times, winning seven times and over a quarter of a million in prize-money on him.
He’s given me all those riding fees as well! Above all, he’s such a willing horse and always tries his best, so it’s no wonder he’s been a favourite of mine over the years.