It couldn’t have been a better start to the job for Tom [O’Brien] when winning the Stayers’ Hurdle at Aintree, it was great to see and for Philip [Hobbs] too, after a frustrating season to finish off with a Grade 1 is excellent.
Credit also to Thyme Hill who deserved that win, I was gutted at Ascot when he was beaten by Paisley Park, so for him to go and show that he’s one of the best stayers around was great.
It was frustrating he couldn’t run his race at Cheltenham this season but the right decision was taken for the horse, and it paid dividends as he was able to go to Aintree fresh and well.
He schooled over fences well at the start of the season which could be an option down the line but when you’re one of the best staying hurdlers around it would be a tricky decision to mess around with.
The Grand National meeting looked a great success all round and seeing Rachael Blackmore land the big one with Minella Times was obviously great to see.
After she firmly put us jockeys in their place at Cheltenham it was great that she came up with the goods again on the biggest stage.
It’s great for racing too that she’s getting the sport on the front pages as well as the back, and while she’s riding the crest of a wave, she’s clearly capable of anything.
We’re reaching the business end of the Jockeys’ Championship and it’s very exciting to see Harry [Skelton] and Brian [Hughes] charging each other down and it looks like it could go right to the wire at Sandown.
At the moment it looks like its slightly leaning in Harry’s favour and when you’ve got a very strong yard behind you that’s always going to help.
Sam’s Adventure in Scottish National
I’m looking forward to the Scottish Grand National on Sunday, it was always a nice trip up there after the thrills of Cheltenham and Aintree, and I think it’s a race where you’ve got to find a horse that likes decent ground.
I won it ten years ago on Beshabar for Tim Vaughan, a real big strapping chaser who loved the faster ground.
Some of the horses coming will having had busy winter campaigns but if there’s a horse that hasn’t run much and has been waiting for the better ground then that’s what you’re looking for.
Sam’s Adventure, a horse that I bred, looks set to run so I hope he can go well.
It was a great thrill when he won the Eider at Newcastle although it was certainly a different feeling to riding a winner.
He’s probably like to see a drop of rain, but either way has showed he’s very good stayer and will hopefully run a big race.
So far retirement isn’t treating me as easily as I thought it would, being at home is so far busier than going to work! But it’s obviously been great to spend so much time at home with the family and I’m enjoying the down time very much.