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Everything was much quieter than usual this year but it was nice to spend some time with the family doing all the usual stuff.

Boxing Day and the 27th were a bit frustrating. My rides, for whatever reason, just didn’t finish off their races as well as you’d like. I don’t know whether it was the ground or the way some of the races were run but it just didn’t go our way.

I thought Silver Streak was a worthy Christmas Hurdle winner even though Epatante may not have been at her best. He’s been knocking on the door at the top-level for a long time and deserved a big win.

The same can be said for Frodon, he’s a top-class horse. He likes to make the running under Bryony [Frost] and the race worked out perfectly for them. As for Clan Des Obeaux and Cyrname, we didn’t see the best of them and it will be interesting see how they bounce back as we head into the new year.

I had a nice winner at Taunton on Wednesday with Stellar Magic. Philip [Hobbs] said he was very uncomplicated and hoped he’d run well but you can never be too sure. He did it nicely in the end and clearly loves soft ground so should have plenty of options.

New Year’s Eve will be a low-key one with the family and then it’s onto Exeter on New Year’s Day.

Exeter, Friday

ORBY’S LEGEND – 12.30pm Exeter

He won over course and distance last time and ran well in a good bumper at Newbury when I rode him the time before that. There’s a lot to like about him and I’m hoping he can go well again. We’ve got a penalty for that win last time out but he should have every chance of following up.

WESTEND STORY – 2.15pm Exeter

We probably haven’t seen the best of him really. He’s a very good horse on his day and if he puts it all together he’d have a big chance. He fell last time out but he’s actually a pretty good jumper on the whole and will hopefully go well.

LOOKSNOWTLIKEBRIAN – 2.50pm Exeter

He’s a horse that absolutely thrives on soft ground and the stiff track will suit too. He stays well, jumps well, gets his conditions and is off his lowest mark in over two years, so certainly ticks all the right boxes.

Looksnowtlikebrian

Sandown, Saturday

ADRIMEL – 2.25pm Sandown

He will love the soft ground at Sandown, particularly on the hurdles course where it can get really testing. There’s a good bunch of unexposed, progressive novices in there, so you can’t be too sure, but there’s a lot to like about him. He stays very well and you’re going to need to do that in what will be testing ground.

Tom Lacey has been going well for the last couple of seasons now and he’s a trainer I enjoy riding for. He sources good quality horses and places them in the right races. Metier is possibly the one we’ve all got to beat and is the highest rated runner in the field, but we’ve got two wins from two starts this season just like him so we’re hopeful.

Adrimel

STRONG PURSUIT – 3.00pm Sandown

Amazingly he’s only having only his 10th start and is running in a veterans’ chase! He’s a very fragile horse so that explains why he’s had so few races for his age, but he seems in good shape for this and will hopefully go well. It’s a very valuable race and this has more or less been the plan all season.

Fingers crossed we can pick up a winner or two over the coming couple of days to start 2021 with a bang. Happy New Year!


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