The 2012-13 Jumps season - according to Aidan!
26 April 2013
I haven’t added to my tally of 89 since my last column – which is a little frustrating as it would be nice to reach the 90s by the close of play on Saturday.
A healthy and happy season
As I said last week, it’s been a great season as the winners have flowed for Venetia (Williams) and I throughout, so I can't look back with any disappointment. I’ve beaten my best total by at least 20 and enjoyed some nice wins along the way.
People have asked me what’s been the key to Venetia’s horses – and I think mainly it’s been a case of having a very healthy stable. Healthy horses are happy horses. We haven’t had any bugs, so the horses have been running very consistently.
Venetia’s horses generally prefer some cut in the ground so the wet weather has probably played its part too and now we need to keep the run going for next season – which starts of course on Sunday!
Hennessy could be Katenko target
Hopefully Katenko will be a big part of the 2013-14 campaign. Having said we’ve had few setbacks, he was obviously a big exception and was pretty ill with colic.
Thankfully he seems to be well on the road to recovery and all being well we might see him in the Hennessy at the end of the year, and then hopefully think about races like the Gold Cup and National, which we had hoped to take in this season.
He’s lightly-raced and I certainly think we haven’t got to the bottom of him. He didn’t stop improving with his races and I think he’ll go from strength to strength.
I am also delighted for his owner Andrew Brooks who is investing heavily in the sport and has a decent string with Venetia. I think Katenko only cost £30,000 so could be one of the bargains of the season given the prize-money he’s already won.
Another horse I want to give a mention to is Jupiter Rex, who won seven on the spin. He was brilliantly placed by Venetia and a brilliant advertisement for the yard.
Looking back on the season as a whole, I was relieved and delighted that the National went off without incident. There was so much pressure around the race and I think everyone has worked really hard to make it as safe and incident free as possible without impacting on the spectacle and magic of it.
One horse dominated the season like no other, and that's of course Sprinter Sacre. There's talk about his future plans and I am sure his stamina would last for the King George if they wanted to go that route. I don’t think any horse can touch him at any distance right now!
That said, I would probably keep him to the shorter distances. Races like the Tingle Creek are proper championship races and should not be sniffed at. He’s not going to be a Gold Cup horse - in all likelihood - and the Champion Chase will always be his target so is there any point in tinkering to see how far he can go?
As for Saturday, I will be keen to successfully defend my title in the Flat v Jumps jockeys’ race.
I ride Ajeeb for Michael Scudamore. Your horses are meant to be randomly selected but I see a J Fortune rides for A Balding, which doesn’t seem too much of a coincidence!
It’s a good fun race and there is plenty of rivalry among the two codes. I do take an interest in the Flat and my advice to anyone looking for a good value bet is Ryan Moore to win the title. He’ll be keen to reclaim it after a couple of injury-affected seasons, and can see off Hughesie. For me Ryan is the best there is. He’s got everything and is as strong as an ox. I’d always want him on my side.
I ride an interesting horse, Thinger Licht, in the first race, the juvenile handicap hurdle. He’s got some good form in France and won nicely at Towcester on his British debut.
Enjoy the Flat season and my column will resume in November for the Jumps season proper. Take care!