Reflections on the season
18 April 2014
Four more winners. One week left
That's the equation if I'm going to reach my maiden century. I have a feeling it's going to be agonisingly close.
I wouldn't put a win past Niceonefrankie, who runs in the Winning Express Levy Board Handicap Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
He's run consistently well all season. The highlight was winning at Ascot back in November and he's never really built on that. He found the shorter trip and track at Fontwell last time too sharp and this will be more to his liking. If he can repeat that Ascot performance he'd have a fantastic chance.
Shangani has enjoyed a successful season, winning a decent race at Newbury last month before finishing 11th at the Festival.
He runs in the Totescoop6 The Millionaire Maker Handicap Chase and he looks to have everything in his favour, including the drying ground.
As it's a relatively quiet weekend of Jumps racing I thought I'd reflect on the season and pick out some highlights and a horse and jockey to follow.
There were three days - a hat-trick at Ascot in November, a four-timer at Plumpton in January and then another three-timer at Sandown in February. Those kind of days don't come along very often and Venetia's horses were absolutely flying during those winter months. How I could do with a day like Plumpton now to get me those four winners!
It has to be Sire De Grugy, who took full advantage of Sprinter Sacre's absence to beat everything put in front of him and win three Grade 1s, including the ultimate two-mile prize, the Queen Mother Champion Chase. I was thrilled for his jockey Jamie Moore, who is a top man and deserved those big wins.
Horse to follow for 2014-15
Dubawi Island has made it three from three in novice hurdles and hasn't been tested. He might not have had much competition but he couldn't have been more impressive. Hopefully he will step up next season and make his presence felt in some top hurdle races.
Rising star(s) of the weighing room
I would have said Conor Shoemark even before he rode a double at Cheltenham on Thursday. He has all the attributes to make it to the top. Michael Byrne and Trevor Whelan are also ones to watch and sure to be top jockeys.
Most satisfying ride
Tarraco at Fontwell at the end of March. I managed to get the rail turning for home which makes a big difference on the Chase course. We were headed but then battled back to win by a short head. I had to be at my absolute strongest that day.