It’s good to be back! What better place to kick off my first blog of the 2021/22 season than Cheltenham!
The early part of the season has been going well for myself and Paul Nicholls, we’ve had a pretty consistent flow of winners. Last season the team set a personal best of 171 winners, so we’ve got a big target to aim at this term.
It’s that time of year where I like to set goals for the season with all the exciting winter races coming up, I’d like to go past the 100 winners mark and ride as many big winners as possible. I had three Grade 1 winners last season so winning four would be great achievement for me.
12:30pm – Magistrato: Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle
I start off Saturday with a strong chance. Magistrato is coming off the back of an impressive performance at Chepstow winning by 12 lengths. He’s been working well at home since the Chepstow run five weeks ago.
He stays well and I think he’ll enjoy the course, with Cheltenham and Chepstow being similar left-handed, undulating tracks. This race is a major step up in grade, but we’re confident in our lad’s ability.
Hopefully he takes the step up in his stride and can claim a good victory.
1:40pm – Mick Pastor: Grade 2 From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase
Mick Pastor ran really well last weekend at Wincanton, just losing out to Captain Tom Cat by two and a quarter lengths. A rock solid run. I have a feeling he’ll be better left-handed, so as long as last week hasn’t taken too much out of him I can see him running well.
2:15pm – Lalor: Grade 3 Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase
The feature race of the day and the horse I’m most excited about riding on Saturday – Lalor. I’ve schooled Lalor a lot at home and I can report he’s feeling in fine fettle. Paul Nicholls has had him doing plenty of work, he hasn’t missed a day.
He’s only nine years old, at home he feels like he’s still got a strong engine and he’s coming into the race fresh. There’s plenty of positives with him.
Paul is a such a good trainer at getting horses with issues to realise their full potential. Next Destination is a great example, he was a horse that had a lot of setbacks when he came to us but Paul nursed him back and got him winning big Graded races.
3:55pm – Lady Excalibur: Listed Stirrups Restaurant And Cocktail Bar Evesham Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race
I rode Lady Excalibur in her last race at Aintree where she beat some very good mares to claim victory. Aintree and Cheltenham are too very different tracks with the former being a flat course and Cheltenham being more like a rollercoaster! But we’re confident of a strong run despite that change.
She’s a very tough tough and hardy mare. She’s going to Cheltenham with a decent chance, although I don’t think she’d want the ground too soft.