Thrilled to take up National service with Druids
27 March 2015
I found out on Friday after racing that Neil Mulholland has booked me for The Druids Nephew in the Crabbie’s Grand National.
I was unsure what my options might be for Aintree on April 11, so this is clearly fantastic news.
Obviously with The Druids Nephew’s regular rider Barry Geraghty side-lined, I imagine Neil would have been inundated with calls from agents, including my own Sam Stronge, offering up their jockeys.
I’ve ridden bits and pieces for Neil over the years and I am very grateful to him and the owners for the opportunity and thrilled to get the call.
He is as low as 12-1 following his win in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase, which was a mightily impressive effort and I can’t wait to get on him.
I'd take the prestige of the title over money
More immediately, this could be one of the quietest weekends in the Jumps season proper, and things have significantly wound down after Cheltenham.
There is always a lull between the Festival and Aintree, which is extended this year because of Easter.
Maybe that’s why the newspapers have been full of stories and columns on the new Flat jockeys’ championship – there’s no racing to write about!
I can’t believe it’s generated that much debate and surely it’s been made into a mountain out of a molehill? The hopes are that the Flat season can be turned into more of a story and this adds to the storyline of the British Champions Series.
I don’t have a strong opinion on this, but my personal view on the Jumps season is that it should stay as it is. I think the Jumps is an all-year round season and while a prize at the end of April would of course be a nice gesture I don’t think it would make any of us more determined to win it.
If someone offered me a choice between 25 grand or the title, I would always take the title. Money wouldn't come into it.
On to the racing and there are only three runners in my opening race at Uttoxeter on Saturday, the two-mile novices’ chase, in which I ride Got The Nac.
All three have been ridden prominently in recent races, which should mean it’s a properly-run race. I haven’t ridden him before but he would have a chance on the formbook – there’s certainly no The New One to worry about!
I’d keep an eye on Emma Lavelle’s Lets Hope So in the bumper. He went quite well in a racecourse gallop at Newbury last time and looks a nice enough prospect.
I’m at Ascot on Sunday, when I ride Jeanpascal in the £40,000 Coutts Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. He was bought from France for €90,000 and won his second start for us at Warwick last time. I think he’s been given a very high rating for what he’s achieved so far – and his weight might stop him against some classy types, including Karezak.
I think you can write off Aachen’s last run for us at Doncaster after hitting the first hard. He never got back into contention. Prior to that he won a valuable veteran’s race at Doncaster and on that form would have a decent squeak in the Davidstow Veteran’s Handicap Chase.
Emerald a real gem for Brendan in Dubai
I will be watching the Dubai World Cup card on Racing UK. I don’t have a great knowledge of who’s running but it’s always a spectacular event.
One horse who I do know a little about is Brendan Powell’s Dark Emerald. I think he’s won more than £150,000 in four runs there, including two Carnival wins.
I read somewhere that that was more than Brendan won for the whole of the Flat season last year. The prize-money is astonishing out there.
To see him going up against the likes of Godolphin and Mike De Kock is a great story and I’ll be cheering for him.