It was a bit of a frustrating day last Saturday. Jerrysback lost a shoe at the third fence when he was overly brave. He was a horse I was really looking forward to riding but he didn’t finish his race at all well. He does have quite fragile feet and Philip [Hobbs] said losing a shoe for him could have made a big difference. He seemed fine after the race so we’ll be hoping he can bounce back.
It was nice to win the bumper on a nice mare called Code Name Lise. It’s always nice to come away from any meeting with a winner but it was a slightly frustrating day.
Philip had a treble at Wincanton, which was good to see. It shows the wellbeing of the yard coming into the festivals. All three winners were ridden by Micheal Nolan, who is a big part of the yard. He’s had some very unfortunate injuries, so it was great for him to ride a treble on a Saturday.
On Sunday I finished fourth in the Betfair Hurdle on Annual Invictus, but he could have done with more rain as the ground had dried out a little bit. He was in top gear all the way but he stayed on strongly in the end. He ran a very good race considering he’s still a novice and I think the plan is now to go to the EBF Final at Sandown over 2m4f which should be ideal for him.
The winner, Soaring Glory, pricked his ears at the last and he definitely won with a bit in hand. If he runs in the Supreme Novices’ he’ll need to improve but to have had a run in a big handicap like that is a bonus because a lot of novices wouldn’t have run at that speed. He’s an exciting horse for the future.
Mellow Ben – 3.35pm
I rode him at Kempton last time out over Christmas when he was fourth behind Royal Pagaille and he gave me a fantastic ride. He jumped and travelled really well but he just struggled to see out the race on the soft ground. He doesn’t have to make the running but I would think we’ll be up there in the first few.
Kempton is a track where you need a horse that travels and jumps, and that’s what he does. It’s ideal for him around there. It looks a very competitive handicap but I think he goes there with a decent chance of going very close.
Awake At Midnight – 4.10pm
The blinkers seemed to liven him up when he won at Huntingdon last time out. I rode him on his first start of the season at Wetherby and we didn’t get involved. We thought he needed a bit of sharpening up and he was quite keen with Tom [O’Brien] over the first couple. They definitely seemed to wake him up. Sometimes blinkers help some of these older horses focus and we’re hoping they will get the right response again.
He’s up in the weights a little bit for Huntingdon, which was a while ago, but I’d like to think he would have a decent chance.
Stanley Pincombe – 4.45pm
He’s not run yet so I don’t know much about him but he’s got a nice pedigree being related to Mr Thriller and Gaspara. Chris Gordon is in very good form and he prepares his horses well. I’ve known Chris for a long time and he’s a very good trainer. He places his horses well – takes them to the right tracks and runs them in the right races, which is a skill in itself. Hopefully, this one will run a nice race so fingers crossed.
Potters Venture – 2.20pm
He won nicely at Chepstow a couple of years ago but he unfortunately got injured so was off for a fair time. He got a little bit tired at Exeter which was understandable coming back from that long break on bad ground. Hopefully, that run will have brought him forward a lot and, if he could show the sort of form he showed when he won at Chepstow, he would have a decent chance.
Banana Joe – 4.50pm
He ran really well when third at Taunton on his first start for Henry Daly having joined from Ben Pauling. This race is a little bit further and that should help as he was placed in a point-to-point over three miles so we know he stays well. I schooled him on Friday morning and he seems very well. If he can improve a little for that Taunton run and the extra trip, he should run very, very well.
Petty Cash – 5.20pm
I schooled him on Friday morning but he obviously hasn’t got to jump anything on this bumper debut. He’s only a four-year-old and I just hope he handles the ground as it’s going to be pretty hard work. He’s a nice horse and goes well at home so it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran a decent race.