Tomorrow marks the start of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. It’s all set up to be a week of equine drama in the Cotswolds and BetVictor Brand Ambassador, Rachael Blackmore has an excellent book of rides as the leading jockey looks to better last year’s return of two festival winners.
We will be following Rachael all week as she gives us exclusive insight into her rides over the coming four days.
My first ride on a busy week is aboard Captain Guinness in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for Henry. This looks an extremely strong race, with both market leaders appearing to be the ones to beat.
My horse may lack a little bit of experience with this being only his third run heading into the race. However, so far, he’s done everything that’s been asked of him with the utmost professionalism and I think he is ready to run a big race.
He ran a bit free at the start last day, so he’ll be wearing ear plugs. I’m not too worried about him running as free tomorrow, as I should be able to get plenty of cover with him in a race like this. He’s ready to go and I think he’ll run a big race, so hopefully he’s not too far away.
Next up, I partner Notebook in the Arkle. He’s a pleasure to ride. He measures his fences so well with real accuracy and just loves getting on with the job. He was a bit of a handful when getting him down to the start at Leopardstown, so we’ll just make sure we get him down there with a bit of a lead to avoid any problems. He’s up against horses that he has beaten before, so we’re hoping that form runs true again.
In the Champion Hurdle, I will be aboard old friend Petit Mouchoir. It’s an extremely interesting race, and you could make cases for many in the field.
If the rain didn’t come, Sharjah would hold strong claims. However, Petit Mouchoir is a great ride to have. His form is solid over 2 miles and I think the market may be underestimating here. He was 3rd behind Honeysuckle and Darver Star in the Irish Champon Hurdle and if the former was in this, she’d be first or second favourite. He wasn’t suited to running over 3 miles last year at Cheltenham, so he’s back to doing what he does best here and we’re hoping he runs a big race.
In the Mares’ Hurdle, I will be riding Honeysuckle. She’s a very special mare to me for obvious reasons. It’s all set up to be a great race. I think there will be plenty of pace here, with Stormy Ireland going a strong gallop.
My confidence is higher than ever with her. She’s never let me down and she’s done it on good or heavy ground without putting a foot wrong, and the trip will suit her nicely. I think this is the race of the day between her and Benie De Deaux and it’s one I’m really looking forward to.
Finally, I will partner Trainwreck in the Novice Handicap. He was second last day at Leopardstown when he ran a fantastic race. He stepped up in trip for the first time on that occasion and it really seemed to suit him.
I rode him out this morning and he seems very fresh and well in himself having travelled over without any issues, so I’m positive about his chances and that he won’t be too far away.