Life as a jockey is inevitably a mixture of ups and downs. On the one hand this week, Danny Tudhope reached 1000 winners, which is a serious achievement. He deserved all of the attention that he got and he is already enjoying another successful season.
Meanwhile, Joe Fanning faces a spell on the sidelines after a fall when the horse he was riding slipped at Ripon on Wednesday.
I went to see Joe on Friday morning and he’s hoping it might just be a straightforward collar-bone injury and that he could be back within a few weeks – I’m hoping he is right, because we’ll miss him in the weighing room while he’s not around.
For me, it was a fairly quiet week as I had a couple of days off with a suspension, but I’m looking forward to four good rides and hopefully a clear journey across the M62 on Saturday afternoon.
I start off at Beverley riding Byron’s Choice in the Dadie Oughtred Memorial Handicap and we’re hoping he’ll have another good season this year, because he is a big, strong horse who improved through the ranks last year, winning three on the bounce.
Hopefully, he just needed his first run of the year at Thirsk as he seems to have come out of it well. If it’s put him spot-on, he ought to go well.
Yarrow Gate takes on some talented rivals in the Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies’ Conditions Stakes and is still looking for her first win, but I’ve been pleased by the way she has shaped on her first couple of starts.
She just bumped into one last time out, but she does seem to be improving and she seemed to like Beverley when she ran there first time out and some horses don’t always handle the track so well.
Then it’s in the car and off to Haydock, although thankfully it’s not a mad dash as I have a bit of time before Pendleton runs in the Betway Sprint Handicap over six furlongs.
This is a horse we think a lot of and I was pleased with the way he won at Newcastle.
Moving into this kind of company asks a different question but he has always seemed to have plenty of potential. Ideally, the rain will dry up though as I suspect he wouldn’t appreciate really testing conditions.
Then in the concluding seven-furlong Betway Handicap, I’m on board Dutch Pursuit, who is coming back from a break having had three runs over the winter at Newcastle.
He works like a nice horse, but whatever he does here, I’d be hopeful he will improve for the run.
Finally, I want to give a mention to Mark Brisbourne, who has sent out his final runners this week.
He is both a very good trainer and a brilliant guy. He gave me a lot of opportunities when I was just starting out as a 7lb-claimer and was good enough to keep using me afterwards.
I always enjoyed riding for him and I wish him all the best, whatever the future now holds for him.