It feels like the season has got properly underway now and I'm really looking forward to getting back on the course this weekend.
I went over to Ireland last weekend to watch some of the pointers, some of which will be going to the sales next week. I went around with Richard Pugh, an auctioneer with Tattersalls which was a great experience and we learned a lot.
I love The November Meeting at Cheltenham. It's the first multi-day meeting of the season, and one where I have happy memories. I rode my first ever Cheltenham winner aboard Palmers Hill in the Conditional's race on the Sunday last year for Mr McManus and dad.
I'm not sure who I will be riding on Friday. Maybe L'Air Du Vent of Colin Tizzard's who is entered in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2m5f trial. I won his bumper in Bangor last year and he's a very nice horse. So if he goes there it would be nice to ride him. He's very much a work in progress but he could be something really nice.
Saturday, we have Prefontaine running in the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. He's a bit of a monkey. He unseated me in his first run and was quite sloppy in his jumping on his second time at Fontwell. He really got his act together at Kempton the next time in blinkers that sharpened him up and won quite nicely having made the running. The horse that came second that day has gone out this week and won, so the form looks good which bodes well. This however is a big step up in grade and we will know where we are with him after the race.
Pop Rockstar is also in on Saturday in the 3m3f Grade 3. He's an interesting horse who is on the way up. He has won his last two races at Carlisle and Chepstow and he's a good strong stayer who jumps very well. He could either go for this race or wait until next weekend at Haydock. He's in great form and dad will make a decision with owner Laura Day later this week. He could have the Welsh National in the back of his mind if he goes well in the next couple of weeks.
I was at Cheltenham on Tuesday morning with Richie (McLernon) schooling over the cross-country fences. The ground was pretty soft and I imagine the main track will also be relatively soft which is to be expected. It could definitely suit Pop Rockstar.
On Sunday, we have a couple of entries in the conditional race. It's a pretty special race for me and it would be amazing to try and win that again.
I'm really looking to getting going again with hopefully no hold ups and a clear run through the season, touch wood"
"The season has already been full of ups and downs already with some nice winners and a couple of injuries. My jaw is now fully recovered after breaking it in a fall in August. I'm really looking forward to an exciting season ahead.
It was pleasing last Thursday winning on Pop Rockstar. He looks like he's going the right way and hopefully he can turn into a long distance chaser. Perhaps the Welsh National trial at Chepstow at the beginning of December could be somewhere we go next with him. He's on an upward curve.
Friday saw our first juvenile winner of the year with Pop The Cork winning at Uttoxeter. He ran well at Perth the first time and has come on well from that. I would say that they will look for another juvenile race for him in November.
Although there were no winners, it was good to get back to Ffos Las on Saturday for their first meeting of the year.
We headed to Kempton on Sunday where Prefontaine won the Juvenile Hurdle. He was a very good horse on the flat and I think the blinkers definitely sharpened him up and there's more to come from him. It was great to get a winner for Paul Smith - his first jumps winner.
It's exciting that Cheltenham is just around the corner. There seems to be a lot of nice young horses entered. Colin Tizzard has some really nice novices', and one or two bumper horses that I rode last year entered up. L'Air Du Vent has a couple of entries at Cheltenham. He is a very exciting prospect and, although I won't be riding, I look forward to seeing him running.
Also, my younger brother AJ hopefully has his first ride at Cheltenham on Friday on Mustmeetalady so I will be looking forward to seeing him have his first ride over fences. It's great to see him coming back into racing and Cheltenham is a brilliant place to start and I hope it all goes well. I won on Mustmeetalday in the summer at Perth and he should have a good chance and give him a good spin around.
It's nice to see Minella Rocco back on Saturday at Cheltenham. He had a difficult season last year. I've ridden and schooled him in the last couple of weeks. He's been in great form and he likes it around Cheltenham so it's an ideal place for him to start.
Hopefully Carys' Commodity will run in the bumper. He would have probably won with me at Worcester last time when he unseated me halfway up the run in. I'm hoping he can make amends for that, although this is a far better race and possibly the most competitive bumper of the year so far so we will have to wait and see. He's an exciting prospect."