It's been a really good busy month with over 50 runners and a few winners which is always nice.
I have to start with Annie Mc. It's great that she has won her second Novice Chase. The horses she is beating are not mugs. She beat If You Say Run the first time at Wincanton who's a good yard stick, and was wasn't too far away from Reserve Tank who was a dual-grade one winner over hurdles last year. She beat one of Alan King's mares who is rated at 140 decisively at Wetherby. She jumped great and is getting better and better with each run.
She will probably go to a normal Novice Chase next with two penalties but will get a Mares' allowance so will probably only be offset by 3lbs. If she won that, we would definitely to have start thinking about the Cheltenham Festival with her, either the handicap or the Grade 1 Marsh Chase. Her next run will probably tell us a lot more. She's going the right way and we're very excited about her.
It was good to get Django Django on the right track. I was really impressed with the first day behind Erick Le Rouge and Not That Fuisse at Uttoxeter which is really good form. He was disappointing the next time at Aintree with Bryony but to be fair, he lost his two hind shoes so there's an excuse for that run. He looked very strong in the finish at Newbury and won going away. He does look like he could turn into a National horse next year but he has a long way to go but he does have that way about him. He's a horse I have always really liked and has probably still got another year until he reaches his full potential. A horse we're very much looking forward to for some lucky owners who are very loyal to us at Jackdaws Castle.
We really fancied Knight Destroyer in the Fred Winter at The Festival couple of years ago when he fell and it was great to see him win again at Taunton. He had a major pelvis injury, which he has now got over, and seemed to lose a bit of confidence. I would say we will be going over fences sooner rather than later. He suits the tight tracks and making all the running and it's great he got his confidence back and really deserved the win.
Arrivederci beat a strong field at Wincanton. He was due a win after coming second behind Fiddlerontheroof last time out at Sandown who went on to win a Grade 1. He's got very good form, he came third to Tea Clipper at Warwick who has gone onto win a few races since. He's progressing nicely and is going to be a chaser for next year and definitely a horse to look forward to.
It was good for the veteran Valadom to get back to his winning grove at Catterick, and good placing by Richard Hobson. He runs at Musselburgh tomorrow in a similar race but I won't be riding him as I will at Sandown.
Beaufort West was very good at Fontwell for Colin Tizzard. He quickened away nicely and really impressed me. It will be interesting to see where they go with him now. I think he could go for a handicap race at Cheltenham, perhaps the Martin Pipe or Coral Cup.
It was very exciting to win Conditional Jockey of the Year at The Lesters. It's a huge honour to win a Lester award as it's your peers who are voting. I feel very lucky that I have a good network behind me and around me. It really does make you appreciate how lucky we are that we live in a such a good weighing room where the camaraderie is great.
I'm extremely grateful and feel very privileged to get asked to ride Native River and to be associated with a Gold Cup winner. It's a huge call up which I'm relishing and don't take lightly. It's Dicky's (Johnson) ride and hopefully he'll be back fit for Cheltenham but it's great to be riding him at Newbury and hopefully it works out well. He won very well at Aintree last time and the blinkers seem to sharpen him up. I'm very much looking forward to Newbury next weekend!
I have three good rides for Mr Tizzard at Sandown tomorrow (Saturday 1st Feb). Elderado Allen in the Champion Hurdle Trial. He's pretty unexposed and ran really well on comeback when he was second at the same track earlier this month. Vision Des Flos in the Scilly Isles Grade One Novices Chase. He's bee a very good horse who won at Chepstow last time very comfortably and has a good chance n what looks like a open race. Mister Malarky runs in the Masters Handicap Chase. He ran very well in the Ladbrokes Trophy earlier in the season. If he returns to that kind of form he should go close.
The BBC confirmed last night that the third series of the Bafta award-winning comedy This Country will be the last.
The show, created by siblings Charlie and Daisy Cooper, and filmed in the Cotswolds, first landed on our screens back in 2017 and has since won and array of awards.
It will be the first series not to feature the brilliant Michael "Slugs" Sleggs who sadly passed away in July 2019.
On an Instagram post confirming the news of the third series being the last, Daisy wrote "It's been the most incredible journey of my life and I'm so grateful to you all"
This Country will return to our screens on February 17th on BBC3.
Cheltenham Racecourse opens its doors for its final raceday before the The Festival™ presented by Magners in March on Saturday 25 January, Festival Trials Day.
With seven cracking races on the card, including the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase, often considered a trial for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle which always produces key contenders for The Festival™ presented by Magners.
Last year, we saw three winners from Festival Trials Day go on to success at the Cheltenham Festival, including the formidable Frodon and Bryony Frost, Paisley Park winning for trainer Emma Lavelle and owner, Andrew Gemmell who has been blind since birth, and Lizzie Kelly aboard Siruh Du Lac.
Popular Irish contemporary band, Lampa will be back to perform on The Centaur stage after racing to keep the celebrations going.
Tickets are available to buy online from £12 in advance - www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/festival-trials-day/
BUY BEFORE 31ST JANUARY AT 10:59AM FOR THE BEST PRICE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TICKETS
Artistic Curator Gregory Porter opens Cheltenham Jazz Festival with a headline show on Tuesday 5 May. He has selected four concerts as Gregory’s Picks - favourite artists he thinks more people should hear during the six-day Festival in May (5-10 May).
Undeniably one of the best voices of our generation, Porter has also revealed today that he will release his sixth studio album All Rise on Decca Records/Blue Note in April and will kick off his much-anticipated UK tour of the record at Cheltenham.
American vocalist and composer Lizz Wright will be Gregory’s special guest in his show and will perform her own show at the Everyman Theatre on Bank Holiday Friday 8 May featuring songs from her new album Grace.
‘Beat scientist’ Makaya McCraven is a drummer, producer and sonic collagist who has made a big impact on Chicago’s cultural scene and who won ‘International Jazz Act of the Year’ at the Jazz FM Awards 2019. He plays the Jazz Arena on Friday 8 May.
Also playing the Jazz Arena on 8 May is trumpeter Keyon Harrold, best known for his performances in Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead (where he earned his nickname The Mugician).
Gary Bartz & Maisha perform on Saturday 9 May. The sax legend manages to be both an elder statesman of jazz and at the forefront of a new wave, backed by Maisha – the UK’s leading spiritual jazz outfit.
These names join Bebel Gilberto, a double bill of Blind Boys of Alabama and Amadou and Mariam, and David Liebman/Randy Brecker/Marc Copland Quintet, who were announced at the end of last year.
The full Cheltenham Jazz Festival programme will be revealed on Wednesday 12 February. Tickets go on sale to Members on 26 February and General sale is on 4 March.
The line-up of DJ's in The Park at the Cheltenham Festival is now complete.
Nick Grimshaw (Day One) and Laura Whitmore (Day Two) were already confirmed, and they have now been joined by Roman Kemp (Day Three) and Marvin Humes (Day Four).
The Park is a brand new addition to The Festival™ presented by Magners, featuring entertainment and live music throughout the day, a range of new bars showing live racing and boasting an electric atmosphere, followed by a 90 minute DJ set at 4:30pm.
Celebrated chef Bob Parkinson is returning to the kitchen but in a different venue for a one off pop-up night on Friday 24 January.
Bob James Parkinson left his eponymous Michelin recognised restaurant, Made By Bob, in Cirencester, after 10 years at the stove in March 2019. He was followed by his kitchen team of chef’s Sam Edwards and Jak Doggett, who went onto successfully take over and re-establish The Firehouse in Upton, near Burford.
The evening is a six course set dinner with delights such as grilled belly of pork and langoustine with clam’s, Asian style peppers, bean sprouts and yam tawai or grilled fillet of lemon sole with baby gem, prosciutto and truffle.
Glass of Crémant de Bourgogne
Cup oyster soup
Oxtail Cugliones with caramelised onion puree, salsify and thyme
Grilled fillet of lemon sole with baby gem, prosciutto and truffle
Grilled belly of pork and langoustine with clam’s
Asian style peppers bean sprouts and yam tawai
Panettone French toast, caramelised apple, sultanas and vanilla ice cream
Roquefort with chicory, walnuts and pickled pear, sourdough crisps
Book now - theuptonfirehouse.com/events
The entries for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase have been announced for The Festival™ presented by Magners at Cheltenham in March.
Altior heads 31 entries for the £400,000 Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Chase, the highlight of day two at the four-day event.
Memorable 2019 winner Frodon is among 44 entries for the £350,000 Ryanair Chase on day three. His win was part of an unforgettable hour at Prestbury Park with the Andrew Gemmell Paisley Park winning an emotional Stayers' Hurdle in the following race.
The Festival takes place from 10-13 March 2020.
BUY YOUR TICKET BEFORE 31ST JANUARY AT 10:59AM FOR THE BEST PRICE.
There are 31 entries for the Cheltenham Gold Cup that takes place on Friday 13th March 2020.
Last year's winner Al Boum Photo is the current favourite.
Local entries include the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Bristol de Mai and The Conditional trained by David Bridgewater.
The Festival™ presented by Magners takes place at Chelteham Racecourse from 10-13 March 2020
BAFTA award-winning comedy This Country returns to the Cotswolds for a one-off sneak preview screening of the new BBC Three series on Thursday 23 January.
Held in Daisy and Charlie Cooper’s home town of Cirencester you can be the first to see an exclusive preview of the first two episodes followed by a Q&A with the brother and sister stars, producer Simon Mayhew-Archer and director Tom George.
Apply by following the link below for your chance to see what Kerry and Kurtan have been up to before everyone else and get an exclusive insight into the making of the show!
Tickets will be allocated by random draw with 70% of the tickets going to local postcodes* and 30% going to the rest of the UK.
You can register at any time until 10am on Friday 10 January.
You can apply for a maximum of two tickets.
* Local postcodes: B50, BA1, BA11, BA13, BA14, BA15, BA2, BA3, BS12, BS15, BS16, BS17, BS18, BS30, BS31, BS32, BS34, BS35, BS36, BS37, BS5, BS7, BS80, CV36, CV37, GL1, GL10, GL11, GL12, GL13, GL14, GL15, GL16, GL17, GL18, GL19, GL2, GL20, GL3, GL4, GL5, GL50, GL51, GL52, GL53, GL54, GL55, GL56, GL6, GL7, GL8, GL9, HR8, HR9, NP16, NP5, NP6, OX1, OX11, OX12, OX13, OX14, OX15, OX18, OX2, OX20, OX25, OX28, OX29, OX3, OX33, OX5, OX6, OX7, OX8, RG15, RG16, RG17, RG18, RG20, SN1, SN10, SN11, SN12, SN13, SN14, SN15, SN16, SN17, SN2, SN25, SN26, SN3, SN38, SN4, SN5, SN6, SN7, SN8, SN9, SN99, WR10, WR11, WR12, WR13, WR14, WR5, WR8