Firstly it was an amazing feeling to win the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, when you go and win a race like that you try to visualise winning it and how it will play out but you cant begin to imagine the feeling of when you cross the line.
It was a massive race to win, I was always happy with the position I was in once we jumped the second last well and asked her she was full of running, that hill didn’t feel half as daunting as it can! It was great to win it for Henry and his team who do exceptional work to get her ready for the big days and of course I am delighted to do it for her owner Kenny Alexander. She is a wonderful mare who has given me so many great memories.
I get Wednesday at Cheltenham Festival started with Bob Olinger (1:20) for Henry in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. In what looks a very competitive renewal, we are very happy with him ahead of the race. Davy Roach has done a lot of work with him at home and he’s delighted with how he’s gone about it.
On his last run at Naas, he gave me a great feel and I believe he has all the potential to be a very special horse for the future.
With the likes of Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame lining up here, this will be his toughest test to date.
However, we couldn’t be happier, and we go into the race confident of a big run.
Eklat De Rire
For obvious reasons, a lot of eyes will be on Monkfish, however, Eklat De Rire stays well and is ready to go, so we’re hoping he can put in a big performance.
We tried different tactics the last day at Leopardstown, but they didn’t quite work out. That said, the drier the ground, the better for Notebook and he’s one I wouldn’t rule out running a big race.
Balko Des Flos
Next up, I am with Balko Des Flos (3:40) in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase. I’m really looking forward to this. It’s a great thrill to ride a horse that you know loves jumping these types of obstacles.
He seems to have taken to them well and he looked enthusiastic as ever when we schooled him over those fences at Cheltenham on Monday morning.
We’ve done plenty of Cross Country schooling with him at home as well, so he’s ready for the race.
It goes without saying that he’s a high quality horse with loads of class, so if he can produce his best in this, hopefully he won’t be too far away.
My penultimate ride on day two is with Embittered (4:15) In the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase.
This is another competitive race and with last year’s winner, Chosen Mate, partnered with Jordan Gainford who will take off 7Ibs, it does make things slightly more challenging.
However, Embittered is a very nice horse and ran well at The Festival last year when finishing third in the County Hurdle. Running in Grade One company on his last two starts, he finished fourth in behind Energumene the last day.
As I mentioned, he has run well at Cheltenham before and the trip should suit, so we’re looking forward to the race.
My last ride of the day is Sir Gerhard (4:50) in the Champion Bumper. This is a fantastic ride for me to pick up. He was a winner of a point-to-point before going onto win two bumpers under Jamie Codd.
So, it’s fair to say that he’s been more than impressive, which makes this even more exciting for myself. He’s in great form, and if he brings his best here, he should run a big race.